Line upon Line: To Overcome the World


Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the world today is the dramatic expansion of Satan’s influence. His attack is no longer subtle; it is bold and brash and difficult to avoid. Many sins compete openly for our attention, insisting that they are “acceptable” or even “normal” behavior. Satan has appropriated the media, particularly television and the Internet, to promote his depraved message.

We are not alone, however, in our struggle against evil. A central message of the Book of Mormon, one that is repeated over and over, is that by coming unto Christ we can be born again and thus overcome the world and its evil influences (see Moro. 10:32–33). When we become new creatures through the Atonement, we no longer desire to do evil but yearn to do good (see Mosiah 5:2).

In 1921 Elder David O. McKay (1873–1970), who later became the ninth President of the Church, made a world tour of the missions of the Church. While aboard a ship nearing Apia, Samoa, he had a beautiful experience that teaches a double lesson. First, it shows us the kind of thoughts we might entertain when we don’t really have to think about anything. Second, it shows us the rewards our Heavenly Father reserves for those who come unto Christ and overcome the world. President McKay wrote:

“Towards evening, the reflection of the afterglow of a beautiful sunset was most splendid! The sky was tinged with pink, and the clouds lingering around the horizon were fringed with various hues of crimson and orange, while the heavy cloud farther to the west was sombre purple and black. These various colors cast varying shadows on the peaceful surface of the water. Those from the cloud were long and dark, those from the crimson-tinged sky, clear but rose-tinted and fading into a faint pink that merged into the clear blue of the ocean. Gradually, the shadows became deeper and heavier, and then all merged into a beautiful calm twilight that made the sea look like a great mirror upon which fell the faint light of the crescent moon!

“Pondering still upon this beautiful scene, I lay in my berth at ten o’clock that night, and thought to myself: Charming as it is, it doesn’t stir my soul with emotion as do the innocent lives of children, and the sublime characters of loved ones and friends. Their beauty, unselfishness, and heroism are after all the most glorious!

“I then fell asleep, and beheld in vision something infinitely sublime. In the distance I beheld a beautiful white city. Though far away, yet I seemed to realize that trees with luscious fruit, shrubbery with gorgeously-tinted leaves, and flowers in perfect bloom abounded everywhere. The clear sky above seemed to reflect these beautiful shades of color. I then saw a great concourse of people approaching the city. Each one wore a white flowing robe. … Instantly my attention seemed centered upon their Leader, and though I could see only the profile of his features and his body, I recognized him at once as my Savior! The tint and radiance of his countenance were glorious to behold! There was a peace about him which seemed sublime—it was divine!

“The city, I understood, was his. It was the City Eternal; and the people following him were to abide there in peace and eternal happiness.

“But who were they?

“As if the Savior read my thoughts, he answered by pointing to a semicircle that then appeared above them, and on which were written in gold the words:

‘These Are They Who Have Overcome The World—
Who Have Truly Been Born Again!’

“When I awoke, it was breaking day over Apia harbor” (Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, compiled by Clare Middlemiss [1955], 101–2).

[illustration] Illustrated by Keith Larson