The young men will understand that Satan exists and recognize how he deceives people.
Prayerfully study Isaiah 14:12–16; Matthew 4:1–11 (see also Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 4:1, 5–6, 8–9); 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 4:7; Revelation 12:4, 7–9; 2 Nephi 28:15–16, 20–22; Helaman 14:30; 3 Nephi 18:15; Moroni 7:16–17; and Doctrine and Covenants 76:25–27.
Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).
Pencils for marking scriptures.
Suggested Lesson Development
Who Is Satan?
Quotations and discussion
What do you know about Satan?
Explain that there are some things we should know about Satan and there are probably many things we do not need to know. Although it is useful to understand who Satan is and why he is our adversary, there is potential danger in thinking and talking about Satan too much.
Read the following counsel given by Elder Francis M. Gibbons, and then proceed with the lesson:
“How much better it is to follow the admonitions of the Savior, to speak with kindness and love, and to create in our homes havens from the turmoil of the world, which is constantly stirred up by the intrigue of our common enemy. And how much better it is to emphasize and to focus on positive rather than negative things so as to build up and to protect each other, and to minimize the opportunity for the intrusion of Satanic influences in our lives” (Ensign, November 1991, p. 79).
President Spencer W. Kimball gave the following description of Satan:
“Satan is very much a personal, individual spirit being, but without a mortal body. His desires to seal each of us his are no less ardent in wickedness than our Father’s are in righteousness to attract us to his own eternal kingdom. …
“He is also clever and trained. With thousands of years of experience behind him he has become superbly efficient and increasingly determined” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], p. 21).
Scriptures and discussion
Who was Satan before his fall?
Help the young men understand that Satan is a spirit son of Heavenly Father born in the morning of the premortal life. He chose evil from the beginning (see D&C 93:25) and gained great power and personal influence. He is described in the scriptures as “an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God” (D&C 76:25). His eventual rebellion and fall were so tragic and complete that he lost all hope for any degree of salvation, which is why the heavens wept over him (see D&C 76:26).
What caused Lucifer’s fall?
Help the young men understand that Satan was caught up in his own cause and guilty of false pride. He desired to “exalt [his] throne above the stars of God” and “ascend above the heights of the clouds” (Isaiah 14:13–14). He was motivated by selfishness and a desire for power and wanted to be like the Most High. When he was denied all of this because he sought it unrighteously, he knowingly rebelled and became the father of all lies.
Why is Satan an enemy to every Aaronic Priesthood holder, and why does he want to enslave us in sin?
Emphasize that Satan hates righteousness. He and his angels, who have all lost their own salvation, want to make every person as miserable as they are (see 2 Nephi 2:18, 27). They are unable to feel such righteous emotions as love, charity, purity, honesty, humility, courage, and hope. Instead, Satan wants us to feel only hate, rage, despair, jealousy, and pride. He wants us to lose our salvation. His goal is to destroy our opportunities to become like Heavenly Father and establish eternal kingdoms of our own.
Point out that some people cannot stand goodness in others but try in every way to destroy good reputations and make others as unhappy as themselves. Such people might be called devilish.
Scripture and chalkboard discussion
Read 2 Nephi 28:15–16, 20–22 with the young men, identifying ways Satan tries to deceive. As the young men identify these ways, list them on the chalkboard. Then have the young men give specific examples in each category of how Satan applies those methods in our times. Following are some examples:
Pride in our hearts (arrogance, self-centeredness, bragging).
False doctrines (false teachers, false religions).
Whoredoms (immorality, immodesty, lust, passions).
Reviling that which is good (mockery of God, religion, chastity, or marriage).
Anger at good (persecution of the righteous).
Carnal or worldly security (excessive desire for money or other worldly possessions).
Flattery (insincere praise).
Deception and lies (claiming there is no God, devil, sin, or hell).
Scripture and quotations
Point out that President David O. McKay explained that Satan tempts us in the same three major ways he tempted Christ:
“Classify them, and you will find that under one of those three nearly every given temptation that makes you and me spotted, ever so little maybe, comes to us as (1) a temptation of the appetite or passion; (2) a yielding to the pride and fashion or vanity of those alienated from the things of God; or (3) a desire for the riches of the world, or power among men” (Gospel Ideals [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953], p. 154).
Elder Howard W. Hunter explained how Satan uses these things to tempt us:
“When Jesus had completed the fast of forty days and had communed with God, he was, in this hungry and physically weakened state, left to be tempted of the devil. … Such a time is always the tempter’s moment—when we are emotionally or physically spent, when we are weary, vulnerable, and least prepared to resist the insidious suggestions he makes. This was an hour of danger—the kind of moment in which many men fall and succumb to the subtle allurement of the devil” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1976, p. 21; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 17).
We Can Resist Satan’s Temptations
Scriptures, quotations, and discussion
Read and discuss the following scriptures and quotations that point out how to protect ourselves from Satan’s power and that we cannot be forced to yield to the enticings of Satan. As you read each scripture, write its reference on the chalkboard:
The Prophet Joseph Smith gave this commentary on the power of Satan: “All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 181).
Elder Spencer W. Kimball explained how Heavenly Father can help us overcome Satan:
“He who has greater strength than Lucifer, he who is our fortress and our strength, can sustain us in times of great temptation. While the Lord will never forcibly take anyone out of sin or out of the arms of the tempters, he exerts his Spirit to induce the sinner to do it with divine assistance. And the man who yields to the sweet influence and pleadings of the Spirit and does all in his power to stay in a repentant attitude is guaranteed protection, power, freedom and joy” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], p. 176).
President Harold B. Lee had this to say:
“Build a bonfire sometime and watch the beautiful moths and insects come wheeling in because of the enticement of the bright lights. Round and round, closer and closer they whirl until their daring prompts a fatal mistake and they fall with singed wings to their doom in the burning furnace of tempting fascination. I’ve seen beautiful young human butterflies playing with the tempting fires of sin. They want to see the bright spots of a big, sinful city while they are away from home. … By improper dress and look and cheap conversation, they issue invitations for the advances of the unholy. They listen to and repeat the filthy and obscene story. They tell themselves that experience with vice and sin is necessary preparation for protection against it. They draw a distinction between the ‘kill, rob and cheat’ kinds of sin and the ‘pleasant sort of sinning,’ which they consider less serious. They forget the warning of the wise man who said that ‘The knowledge of sin tempteth to its commission,’ and that you can’t come in contact with sin in any form without losing a certain pure-mindedness. They little realize that:
[Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, lines 217–20]
“Many of these beautiful human butterflies winged for heavenly flight have fallen with wings singed and badly seared because of their curiosity about the forbidden” (Decisions for Successful Living [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], pp. 87–88).
What does Satan hope to do to you?
What are some of Satan’s most effective temptations for young people?
Summarize the young men’s responses on the chalkboard.
Scripture and discussion
Read together Moses 1:12–22.
How did Satan try to deceive Moses? How did Moses resist those temptations?
Why did Satan finally leave Moses? How did Moses’ fourth command for Satan to leave differ from the first three?
Emphasize to the young men that Jesus Christ is far more powerful than Satan. With his help, we can always overcome Satan.
Testify that Satan is real and that we must understand his tactics to avoid being lead astray by him. He is no comic figure as some portray him, but is the great anti-Christ. Satan is a cunning adversary. We can be stronger than he is if we are wise and use the spiritual strength that comes from following Christ, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and honoring the priesthood.
Challenge the young men to seek for and follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost and to pray for strength to turn away from all temptations to do evil. Challenge the young men to avoid all evil, whether it be in the form of improper language, attitudes, behaviors, or situations.