8 Anti-Mormon Tactics That Satan Uses To Attack The Latter-day Saints
Satan is the father of lies and deception. He has many titles including the cunning one. Satan is master of language and convincing. After all, he was able to sway a third of the host of heaven to follow him. Whereas we do not normally study Satan it is wise to learn the tactics he is using against the Saints! President Ezra Taft Benson taught in General Conference:
“A study of Satan’s methods can alert us to his seductions.”
Ezra Taft Benson
With that as the context, let’s take a look 8 Anti-Mormon tactics that Satan uses to attack the Latter-day Saints so that we can resist them!
But before we continue I’d like to invite you to like my facebook page.
1st. Half truths.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Satan is that he always tells bald face lies. Lies that are 100% untrue. But Satan is far wiser than that. Satan’s most powerful lies are the ones where he mingles with lies with something that is true. Like in Genisis 3:3-4 when Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die” (lie) but “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (true).
His goal is to keep us from understanding the truth. What is truth? The Lord explained in the Doctrine and Covenants as the following.
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
Satan is always trying to deceive us, even if he must use something that is true, but wrapped in a lie as bait! Just like a skilled fisher wraps a hook with a fly, Satan will try to give you part a half truth wrapped in a lie.
“Lucifer is a clever and cunning intelligence. One of the main methods he uses against us is his ability to lie and deceive to convince us that evil is good and good is evil . . . Satan and his minions have their lures all around us, hoping that we will falter and take his flies so he can reel us in with counterfeit means.”
M. Russell Ballard
2nd. Irrelevant Appeals.
“Irrelevant appeals attempt to sway the listener with information that, though persuasive, is irrelevant to the matter at hand.” Source.
This is by far the most successful of Satan’s tactics. Satan is trying to distract, detract, and destroy us with irrelevant facts.
An example, the truth is, “You are a spirit child of Heavenly Father, you have inherent value.” Satan would whisper, “You are fat. You are single, no one wants you. Or you are too short/tall.” Whereas these irrelevant appeals might be true, they detract from the truth and therefore they are a lie of Satan. Satan is a master liar, he uses irrelevant appeals masterfully.
He uses them against the Church all the time. When someone testifies that the Book of Mormon is true, Satan will say “But Joseph used a seer stone in a hat!” And? What does that have to do with where or not it is true? It is an irrelevant appeal. It is a distraction.”The Church is true.” “But Brigham Young said….” Once again, saying something that is true, but irrelevant, detracts from the truth and is a lie.
If Satan can distract us from the fact that A is true, getting us to focus instead on B and C, he can get us to undermine our own testimonies. Never let something distract you from your own testimony!
“Satan has a powerful tool to use against good people. It is distraction.”
Richard G. Scott
3rd. Argumentum ad hominem (personal attacks)
Ad Hominem or ‘personal attacks’ is growing ever popular. If you follow politics at all you’ve seen it. It is where instead of addressing the issue, you assassinate the character of the person. Joseph Smith was warned by Moroni in JSH 1:33 that Satan would slander his name among all people. This continues today.
An example, one might testify, “Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God.” Then Satan or someone believing his anti, replies “But Joseph Smith did X, Y or Z!” Instead of addressing the question, “Is he or is he not a prophet?” They accuse him of everything under the sun, they shout, yell, and slander his name. As my Philosophy Professor would say, their argument is invalid and illogical. And it is also fulfilling Prophecy!
“The great question which all men in our day must answer—and that at the peril of their own salvation—is- Was Joseph Smith called of God”
Bruce R. McConkie
4th. Argumentum Ad Lapidem (Appeals to the Stone).
The name of this one is really cryptic, but the concept is simple. Satan often entices people to dismiss the claims of the restoration by simply saying it is absurd, without giving proof of its absurdity. Satan does this all the time. “God showing up to a 14-year-old boy? That’s absurd!” Satan never defends this claim of absurdity, because he can’t. We see this all through Church History. “A golden bible? That’s absurd!” or “God speaking to a man in our day? That’s absurd!” or “Why would God need us to wear garments? That’s absurd!” Instead of actually addressing the doctrine Satan just says “That’s absurd!”
5th. Argumentum Ad Verecundiam (Appeals to Authority).
One might say “The spirit has testified to my soul that The Book of Abraham is true.” And in reply, Satan and his anti would say “But leading Egyptologists have proven that the papyri translation and the Book of Abraham don’t match up!” This actually is a multi-facet fallacy. First, they appeal to authority to justify their stance. Second, they omit the context of this appeal to authority.
When Joseph bought the papyri scrolls, the edges were tattered, so he trimmed them off and put them in a safe place. He then translated the scrolls into the Book of Abraham. Those scrolls have been lost. What has survived are the tattered edges. It is the edges that the Egyptologists have examined and deemed an inaccurate translation and not the scrolls that Joseph translated the book of Abraham from!
When someone tries to appeal to the authority or knowledge of man rely upon the testimony of the Deity! When we hear something “new” does it change the witness we already have from the Holy Ghost? NO! Nothing should ever trump what the Holy Ghost has told us!
“We receive this testimony when the Holy Spirit speaks to the spirit within us.”
Deiter F. Utchdorf
6th. False Dilemma
When you falsely think there are only two options to a subject. This is most common among atheist, the idea is, either God would do this, or there is no God. They think. “If I were God, I would do things this way. Things are not this way, therefore there is no God.” When in reality, the answer is simple. You are not God!
“God’s ways are not man’s ways, but are infinitely superior thereto.”
Elder Delbert L. Stapley
7th. Argumentum Ad Populum (Appeals to the People).
This one is simple also. “Everyone is doing it, therefore it is ok.” This is the logic that Satan uses on many of the youth to convince them it is ok to do bad things. This one is often referred to as peer pressure. It is hard to stand against our peers, to do what is right when it is unpopular. Let us follow the counsel of our Prophet.
“May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”
Thomas S. Monson
8th. Hasty Generalizations.
Simply put, it is taking the experience of a few and generalizing it for all. “I had a bad experience with one of my Bishops, therefore the whole church is not true.” When we make a conclusion based off of little or no experience we are guilty of a Hasty Generalization. Let us remember that other than Christ no one is perfect.
“Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.”
~ Jeffrey R. Holland
At the end of the day, the only way to detect and prevent Satan’s lies are to gain a testimony from God Himself that this work is true. Once you have a testimony don’t let Satan shake it. When he comes saying “Look at this part of Church History you don’t know!” You will be able to reply “I have a witness from God that this Church is true!” And thereby overcome Satan’s efforts to deceive the elect of God. As President Uchtdorf taught “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”
When someone gives you something that brings you darkness rather than light, ask yourself who is presenting this argument? Don’t let the words of apostate members shake your faith. Apostates are not a trustworthy source! They, like Judas, have forsaken all and now fight against Christ. In the famous words of Neal A. Maxwell.
“studying the Church only through the eyes of its defectors [is] like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus.”
Neal A. Maxwell
PS. Special thanks to my Institute teacher Ron Bartholomew, my Philosophy professor Michael Arts, and my English professor Sam Beeson. Thanks for y’alls help with formulating these ideas!