Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals understand that there are two separate forces in the world – good and evil. The good comes from our loving Father in Heaven while the evil comes from Satan, who is also known as Lucifer, the devil, or the adversary. Satan knows that he cannot sell his ideas by expressing them in the open; therefore, he hides his ultimate purposes by redefining words: “evil as good and good as evil, darkness as light and light as darkness, bitter as sweet and sweet as bitter.” (See Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 15:20.)
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on the topic “A Banquet of Consequences: The Cumulative Result of All Choices” at Brigham Young University on February 7, 2017. In his remarks he says that this redefining of words is “sometimes called a paradigm shift,” meaning that there is a change in “the usual way of thinking about or doing something.” He uses The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis as an example of this shift.
Elder Cook tells of a “meeting with an internationally recognized advertising expert” where they discussed “the influence of evil and the consequences of bad choices.” This expert envisioned a hypothetical meeting between Lucifer and an advertising agency where the adversary explained his problem:
[H]e and his followers had rebelled and rejected the Father’s plan and had come to understand that they could not prevail against God. Lucifer understood that while the Father’s plan was about joy and happiness, his own plan resulted in grief and misery. The problem, Lucifer explained to the ad executive, was how to attract followers.
It was determined that Lucifer’s only hope of success was to achieve a paradigm shift or values inversion – in other words, to characterize the Father’s plan as resulting in grief and misery and Lucifer’s plan as resulting in joy and happiness.
This hypothetical meeting serves a useful purpose. The truth is, not only do the enemies of the Father’s plan attempt to undermine the doctrine and principles of the plan, but they also attempt to mischaracterize the blessings that flow from the plan. Their basic effort is to make that which is good, righteous, and joyful seem miserable.
Elder Cook then shared several examples of how the adversary attempts to “mischaracterize and undermine the blessings of living according to the Father’s plan.” His first example is the Word of Wisdom as found in Doctrine and Covenant 89.
1 A WORD OF WISDOM….
3 Given for a principle with promise….
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation –
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good….
7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man….
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
The Lord’s law of health as found in Section 89 has instructions on keeping our bodies healthy by eating wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also includes promises to those who obey this law. Those promises say that the obedient “shall receive health … and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-19).
The Lord gives a law that will bring health and other blessings to the obedient, but the world makes the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea seem attractive. Science and health professionals are now proving that these substances are bad for our bodies, but the Lord revealed this truth in 1833.
Elder Cook cites many statistics about health problems caused by alcohol and tobacco and admits that he does not include all the problems caused by them.
In reciting primarily personal health issues, I have not attempted to categorize other serious consequences of alcohol use such as accidents while driving under the influence, men trying to excuse physical and sexual assaults because of alcohol impairment, and the effects on fetal brains from alcohol use by women during pregnancy.
As if cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, and an opiate epidemic were not harmful enough to society, we now see the forces of evil pushing legalization of recreational marijuana.
It is easy to see the devious ways that the adversary attempts to fool us into breaking the God’s health law given for our good. We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by helping the rising generation to understand that there is good and evil in the world and by helping them to recognize and accept the good.