The English word devil in the KJV is used to represent several different words in Greek (slanderer, demon, and adversary) and Hebrew (spoiler). The devil is the enemy of righteousness and of those who seek to do the will of God. Literally a spirit son of God, he was at one time “an angel” in authority in the presence of God; however, he rebelled in the premortal life, at which time he persuaded a third of the spirit children of the Father to rebel with him, in opposition to the plan of salvation championed by Jehovah (Jesus Christ). “Thus came the devil and his angels” (D&C 29:37). They were cast out of heaven and were denied the experience of mortal bodies and earth life (Isa. 14:12–15; Rev. 12:4–9; 2 Ne. 2:17; 9:8; D&C 29:36–38; 76:25–26; 93:25; Moses 4:1–4; Abr. 3:27–28).
Latter-day revelation confirms the biblical teaching that the devil is a reality and that he does strive to lead men and women from the work of God. One of the major techniques of the devil is to cause human beings to think they are following God’s ways, when in reality they are deceived by the devil to follow other paths.
Since the devil and his premortal angels have no physical body of flesh and bones, they often seek to possess the bodies of mortal beings. There are many such instances recorded in scripture (Matt. 9:32; 12:22; Mark 1:24; 5:7; Luke 8:30; Acts 19:15; see also Mosiah 3:6). Such can be evicted by the power of faith in Jesus Christ and the exercise of the holy priesthood. Jesus gave this power to His disciples (Matt. 10:1; Mark 16:17; Luke 10:17; Acts 5:16; D&C 84:67).
The devil is called the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11); the adversary (1 Pet. 5:8); Beelzebub, meaning the prince of the devils (Mark 3:22); the wicked one (Matt. 13:38); the enemy (Matt. 13:39); Lucifer (Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:26); Satan (Rev. 12:9); prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2–3); Perdition (D&C 76:26); son of the morning (D&C 76:26–27); that old serpent (Rev. 12:9; D&C 76:28); the great dragon (Rev. 12:7–9); a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44); a liar from the beginning (D&C 93:25); and the accuser (Rev. 12:10).
He is miserable in his situation and “stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness” (2 Ne. 9:9). He tries to imitate the work of God by transforming himself nigh unto an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:12–15; 2 Ne. 9:9; D&C 128:20). He is also a worker of miracles, by which he deceives many upon the earth (Rev. 13:1–15). In fact, the scripture says he deceives the whole world (Rev. 12:9). He can cite scripture to make his point seem plausible (Matt. 4:1–11). All of this is his scheme to make man miserable like himself. 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.