To the Point


What do you want to know? E-mail your questions to newera@ldschurch.org. Please put “To the Point” in the subject line.

How do I tell a friend her music is inappropriate without losing her friendship? She always tells me that if I’m her friend, then I won’t complain about it. What should I do?

The music and the friends you surround yourself with are strong influences in your life. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said: “Choose your friends carefully. It is they who will lead you in one direction or the other.” 1

Discussing the music you and your friend listen to can be a good experience for both of you. Respectfully explain your feelings about the value of good media and the destructive nature of bad media. Share with her how her choice of music prevents you from enjoying your time together more fully.

If she continues to listen to music that offends the Spirit, consider changing friends. Friends are important, but not at the expense of your spiritual well-being.

    Note

  1.   1.

    Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Liahona, Apr. 2001, 36; New Era, Jan. 2001, 4.

Is Satan real? Can he harm us or cause us to have bad thoughts?

Satan is real. In the premortal life he was known as Lucifer. He rebelled against our Father in Heaven’s plan during the great council in heaven and sought to destroy the agency of man. He was “cast down” and became the devil, the enemy of righteousness and of those who seek to do the will of Heavenly Father. He is the author of deception and lies, a subtle and practiced deceiver. (See Moses 4:1–6.) He and his followers try to imitate the work of God to lead people astray.

Satan uses many techniques to tempt us, but we can triumph over him through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, obedience in honoring covenants and keeping commandments, repentance, and receiving the proper ordinances. Satan can place temptations in our way and urge us to do bad things, but he has no power over us unless we allow it.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield. … We can resist the devil; if we were not organized so, we would not be free agents” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 213).

“When Satan’s lies succeed in deceiving us, we become vulnerable to his power,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (“Be Not Deceived,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 43).

President James E. Faust said, “I once heard [a temple president] say, ‘The devil is not smart because he is the devil; he is smart because he is old.’ Indeed, the devil is old, and he was not always the devil. … And Nephi states that the devil ‘hath no power over the hearts’ of righteous people. We have heard comedians and others justify or explain their misdeeds by saying, ‘The devil made me do it.’ I do not really think the devil can make us do anything” (“The Forces That Will Save Us,” Ensign, Jan. 2007, 7–8).

At another time, President Faust said, “If we are conscientiously trying to avoid not only evil but the very appearance of evil, we will act for ourselves and not be acted upon.

“Much of what comes from the devil is alluring and enticing. …

“… In simple terms, that which is good comes from God, and that which is evil comes from the devil. You can’t have it both ways and find true happiness; some have tried, but in the long run all have failed” (“The Devil’s Throat,” Ensign, May 2003, 51).

“Protection against the influence of the devil is found by obedience to the commandments and laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of all the prophets and apostles is that truth, righteousness, and peace shall in the end prevail over error, sin, and war; the faithful shall triumph over all their afflictions and enemies, and shall triumph over the devil. There shall be a complete and lasting victory of righteousness over wickedness on this earth, which will be done by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Bible Dictionary, “Devil”).

My nonmember friends ask why we do baptisms for the dead. They think it’s strange. How do I answer them?

The Savior taught, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This means that in order to receive eternal life—the purpose of our existence—a person must be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.

Although baptism is essential, there are several reasons why many people have not been baptized. Some lived without a knowledge of the gospel, and others were baptized without the correct authority.

Because our Heavenly Father is merciful and just, He does not condemn those who did not have the opportunity to be baptized during their lifetime. In order for these deceased persons to have the opportunity to receive eternal life, baptisms for the dead are performed in their behalf by worthy Church members in temples (see 1 Corinthians 15:29; D&C 124:29–36; 128:18).

The deceased persons, who are in the spirit world, choose to accept or reject the gospel and the ordinances done on their behalf (see D&C 138:58–59).

By performing baptisms for the dead, you are giving more of Heavenly Father’s children the opportunity to receive all of His blessings.

Baptismal font in the Helsinki Finland Temple.

Photograph of baptistry by John Luke, © IRI

Photo illustration by Craig Dimond