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Devil made me do it


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58 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

I don’t know that I truly believe in the traditional narrative of the devil .

My first post on the board was me asking how the adversary inserts thinky things into our brains, how he does it planet-wide while individually customizing each product. It's an astonishing ability and I found it curious no one had ever set out define what could be defined about it.

At first no one would engage the Q because the Q+my username = they thought I was Ahab. So I changed my username and asked again. I got some responses but none of them really addressed the Q directly so I let it go.

Maybe the Q eludes thinking about.

Edited by Chum
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43 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

In the recent abuse thread that Calm posted, the perpetrator claimed that “The adversary” had a hand in his sexual behaviors.  

I have not read the other thread yet, so my comments will be limited to addressing your assertions here.  Personally, I have very little doubt that the Adversary had a hand in this man's despicable, diabolical deeds.  I have very little doubt that the Adversary has had a hand in many of the bad things that I have done.  But "had a hand in" =/= "the devil made me do it."

43 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

I have had a negative reaction to this type of claim for decades.  IMO this claim precludes personal responsibility and makes the perp a victim.

I agree that if someone wishes to attempt to excuse his or her bad behavior by saying that the Adversary had such control over the person that the person was powerless to resist, that claim would "preclude[ ] personal responsibility" and would "ma[ke] the perp a victim."  But, again, "had a hand in" =/= "the devil made me do it."

43 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Doesnt matter if its sexual abuse or a benign bad thought- claiming its the adversaries influence is a major turn off to me.

Again, I agree that if someone wishes to claim that the Adversary made him do something such that he had no power to resist, that's not consistent with the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We are free agents, with free will, who have the capacity to choose whom we will "list to obey" (see Alma 3:26-27, 2 Nephi 2:27).

43 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

I don’t know that I truly believe in the traditional narrative of the devil.  If the whole narrative is true, then I’m disgusted with the whole thing.

Often, I am disgusted at the terribly unfortunate behavior, to put it mildly, of my fellow human beings.  On the other hand, "There, but for the grace of God, could go you, or I, or anyone."  It's not only the worst of us who needs a Savior.  No matter how "good" we are or how much good even the best of us does, all of us need a Savior.

43 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

 That would mean that we CAN blame the devil for our choices.  I despise that idea, and reject it big time as I read the article posted by Calm.

I can blame the Adversary for tempting me.  That's what he does.  But it is all  he does.  All he can do is tempt me.  Since I am a free agent with free will, He cannot force me to succumb.  In many cases, I may not be able to choose my circumstances, and in all of those cases, perhaps the best I can do is choose how I respond to my circumstances.  But even in far-less-than-ideal circumstances, still, I have the capacity to choose how I will respond.  I may not like any of my choices; I may wish I had different choices; but even in such circumstances, still, I can choose the "less bad" or "least bad" alternative.  My choice to succumb, to choose a bad alternative, or to choose the worst of my possible alternatives, is just that—a choice.

Now, having said all of this, each bad alternative I choose is apt to make my circumstances worse, while each good (or "less bad," or "least bad") alternative I choose is apt to make them (at least marginally) better (or at least, such choices won't make them worse).  The worse I make my circumstances, the worse any of my alternatives becomes.  The worse any of my alternatives becomes, the worse my choices, in turn, become. 

Is a person who engages in destructive behavior, such as drug abuse (or any behavior that has a habitual or addictive component), responsible for his or her behavior?  Yes and no.  He could have made a better choice when the choice to use drugs (or to engage in other harmful, potentially addictive behavior) arose in the first place, and chances are that he could have made better choices at various "forks in the road" that would have spared him his current circumstances.  But, now, at least in a sense and at least to a certain extent, he's held captive to his addiction.  Is he held captive such that never can he escape?  No.  But the choice to escape must be just that: It must be his choice.

43 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

 Is there a way to think of this differently?  I will read responses with an open attitude. 

Yes.  There is a constant, fluctuating interplay between our choices and the Adversary's influence.  The worse our choices (and the more we make bad choices), the greater his influence; the better our choices (and the more we make good choices), the lesser his influence.  See above.  Your mileage may vary, but, personally, I believe the Scriptures that state that Christ "was tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin" (see Hebrews 4:14-16) and that, while, indeed, He was so tempted, He simply "gave no heed" unto such temptations (Doctrine and Covenants 20:22, Mosiah 15:5, Alma 7:11).

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The earth seems to have a pull to evil, Rabbis call The Evil Inclination (yetzer hara). People under this condition may not actually be as evil as much as they are merely weak to the otherly forces that subject them, do to a lack of will power, and in that sense still partly responsible. If devils are linked to mental illness like in the Bible, we like to be merciful to absolve the guilt to those who self-harm or kill themselves. They might have a devil or other earthly condition that made them do what they did.

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2 hours ago, Chum said:

My first post on the board was me asking how the adversary inserts thinky things into our brains, how he does it planet-wide while individually customizing each product. It's an astonishing ability and I found it curious no one had ever set out define what could be defined about it.

At first no one would engage the Q because the Q+my username = they thought I was Ahab. So I changed my username and asked again. I got some responses but none of them really addressed the Q directly so I let it go.

Maybe the Q eludes thinking about.

I would say either delegation and coordination of effort (if devils can pull that off!) or there's plenty of the 3rd part to work on us.

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It is a progressive process for both righteousness and wickedness. If a person commits a wrong, he may feel naughty, daring or whatever. He might take delight in it. If that person keeps doing the wrong thing, he will branch out to more serious sins and feel justified with them. It becomes a downward spiral and the person begins to walk in darkness at noonday.

Same thing happened with Cain. He was taught correct principles by Adam and Eve and even talked with God. But he dabbled a little bit with Lucifer and progressively became more "deranged". To the point of committing the brazen murder of his brother Abel.

2 Ne 26:22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.

Psalms 2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

Psalms 129:4 The Lord is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.

Proverbs 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

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3 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

In the recent abuse thread that Calm posted, the perpetrator claimed that “The adversary” had a hand in his sexual behaviors.  
 

I have had a negative reaction to this type of claim for decades.  IMO this claim precludes personal responsibility and makes the perp a victim.  

Doesnt matter if its sexual abuse or a benign bad thought- claiming its the adversaries influence is a major turn off to me. 
 

I don’t know that I truly believe in the traditional narrative of the devil .  If the whole narrative is true, then I’m disgusted with the whole thing.  That would mean that we CAN blame the devil for our choices.  I despise that idea, and reject it big time as I read the article posted by Calm.  
 

Is there a way to think of this differently?  I will read responses with an open attitude. 

Absolutely feel this way too! 

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3 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

I don’t know that I truly believe in the traditional narrative of the devil .  If the whole narrative is true, then I’m disgusted with the whole thing.  That would mean that we CAN blame the devil for our choices.  I despise that idea, and reject it big time as I read the article posted by Calm.  
 

Is there a way to think of this differently?  I will read responses with an open attitude. 

Absolutely there are other ways to think of things.  I know several abuse victims, several abusers, and an alcoholic.  I share your strong reaction to the "it's not my fault" narrative we humans sometimes use to give ourselves a pass for our behaviors.  Here is some random musings from me on how I approach such ideas and those who seek to buy into them.  As I ramble, you can picture me talking to an abuser, or a criminal, or an addict.  I'm trying to balance the commandment to love these people, with all the other commandments to proclaim the truth, protect those within my stewardship, rebuke sin, etc.

 

Ok, humans CAN do whatever the hell they want, but that doesn't make it right, just, or correct.  Sure, the devil tempts you - but you're the one who gives into that temptation.  At my most tempted moments, I'd force myself to sing "I stand all amazed" over and over again until the overpowering urge went away.  I learned every verse.  Did that for years.  What did you do?   Did you even try to white knuckle yourself through a temptation?  

Sure, your biology gives you these urges/tendencies/dependencies/desires.  But you don't get to tell me you lose your agency.  Your battle against yourself may be harder than mine, and you may lose the battle from time to time, but that's your battle you lost.  Don't you dare try to blame anyone other than yourself for losing that battle.  It's on you.  It's your burden to carry.  Satan is off laughing because of what he got you to do, and he'll laugh even more if you just pretend you don't have any blame here.  Ok, so the devil made you do it.  You telling me that means he needs to be the one to make it right?  You don't have to repent and make amends and pay the price, because it wasn't your fault - are you sure you're gonna stand there and spew that crap?  You might be able to convince yourself, but don't expect to convince anyone else. 

It's on you, pal.  It's on you to repair what you did, it's on you to make sure it doesn't happen any more. You make the choice - you gonna be a willing tool for the dark one, or you gonna stop being a whiny child and put on your big girl britches and start acting like a grown human?

 

@MustardSeed, you can think this way, and say stuff like this to people you love.  You can absolutely loathe and despise the behavior, and still love the person being bad.  Forgiveness is required, but that doesn't mean protecting someone from the consequences of their actions.  You can give a royal dressing-down to anyone trying to proclaim that they're not responsible for themselves.  You can shout these principles from the rooftops.  As you go through life hearing people talk about and maybe accept false notions about personal responsibility, you can rock the damn boat.  Even if you're the only one doing it - you're still in the right.

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10 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

... Ok, humans CAN do whatever the hell they want, but that doesn't make it right, just, or correct. ...

Pun intended? :huh: :unknw:

Sorry! ;)  Couldn't resist! :D

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4 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

In the recent abuse thread that Calm posted, the perpetrator claimed that “The adversary” had a hand in his sexual behaviors.  
 

I have had a negative reaction to this type of claim for decades.  IMO this claim precludes personal responsibility and makes the perp a victim.  

Doesnt matter if its sexual abuse or a benign bad thought- claiming its the adversaries influence is a major turn off to me. 
 

I don’t know that I truly believe in the traditional narrative of the devil .  If the whole narrative is true, then I’m disgusted with the whole thing.  That would mean that we CAN blame the devil for our choices.  I despise that idea, and reject it big time as I read the article posted by Calm.  
 

Is there a way to think of this differently?  I will read responses with an open attitude. 

I don't know what to do with the devil thing either. In the OT, he is presented as the adversarial prosecutor in a court like proceeding. I think adversary is more suitable than "devil." I think the devil thing falls apart at the beginning of the story, where he is thrown out of heaven. It doesn't strike me as that bad of an act for that severe of a punishment...more of a difference of opinion. But a lot of Mormon stuff has trouble staying coherent once you get past a couple of propositions. I don't think that is a bad thing, it just means we have to move beyond the facile bumper sticker theology stuff. 

No one goes around saying a good spirit made them do every good thing, we tend to give the person, or take credit for it ourselves.  It gets back to those who think they are entitled to revelation for every mundane choice they have to make. We have a very erratic way of managing all of this. As for evil, I don't think we need the "natural man" and the devil, the natural man tendencies should cover a lot of evil. 

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Why does one need a devil to entice us, anyway?  Isn't greed, lust, power, selfishness, etc. enough?  It seemed to be enough for Lucifer, after all.  Why not us?

2 Nephi 2: 15 – 16 indicates that a devil is not necessarily required. At the same time, I don’t envision people being able to resist all deviation from the path to exaltation without the light of Christ.

Lehi supposed that Lucifer did what he did anyway (v. 17), and several other verses in the Book of Mormon confirm that he does what he does anyway, even though we can do much evil independently:

·         awfulness of yielding to the enticings2 Ne. 9:39.

·         yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, Mosiah 3:19.

·         being who did entice our first parents, Hel. 6:26.

·         devil … enticeth to sin, Moro. 7:12.

The devil does enhance the creativity for evil that people might not otherwise conceive of and perpetrate; by the time we got to this point after the war in heaven, no mortal among those not cast out simply wasn’t bad enough (even “after all we can do”). The Lord was to vanquish the devil in a mortal arena, and that has played out according to the testimony of the apostles. And so, He enhances our creativity for good first through the light of Christ and then the covenant path, including the gift and companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Edited by CV75
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2 hours ago, pogi said:

Why does one need a devil to entice us, anyway?  Isn't greed, lust, power, selfishness, etc. enough?  It seemed to be enough for Lucifer, after all.  Why not us?

Do you feel the same about the Holy Spirit's ability to entice us to do to good?  That we don't need it or that it doesn't exist?

(Not arguing, just trying to figure out if I understand you right)

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1 hour ago, juliann said:

It doesn't strike me as that bad of an act for that severe of a punishment...more of a difference of opinion.

Do you see the LDS theology from additional scripture as identifying something bad?

The whole “give the honor to me” suggests Lucifer wants to replace God in some fashion to me.

Quote

“And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

 

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I think of the devil, if he actually acts in this way, as similar to peer pressure.  Some may be more vulnerable to peer pressure due to their background of possible trauma or certain patterns of thought, but my impression from how we teach about Christ protecting children and those we hold not accountable is that if the devil really could make us do something (meaning we would not be personally accountable for it), God would protect us from that influence.  Plus that level of pressure would interfere with our agency.

But I am spacing on what teachings are actually out there and am wondering if it is more like the Mormon folklore about God protecting his generals in the war in heaven from Satan by giving them bodies that do not allow full mental development, that keep them at the level of children and there untouched supposedly by the devil’s influence, at least directly.

What are the actual teachings on Satan’s ability to influence young children and the mentally challenged?

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, bluebell said:

Do you feel the same about the Holy Spirit's ability to entice us to do to good?  That we don't need it or that it doesn't exist?

(Not arguing, just trying to figure out if I understand you right)

I think that without the Spirit or light of Christ, we would be left to the natural man.   We are taught that the natural man is selfish, etc. and can't be redeemed unless he yields to the enticing of the Spirit. I personally don't think the natural man is all evil, I think that we are capable of much good on our own, but the Spirit is required to redeem us from sin and progress eternally towards the light.  We couldn't be saved without it.  I think there is a spiritual realm that the natural man can tap into that can be life-changing.  We are taught that the light of Christ is an omnipresent spiritual presence, force, power and all-seeing source of knowledge.  It is the means by which our conscience is guided to distinguish good from evil. I am not aware of any dark spiritual force that fills all space emanating from the devil like the light of Christ does from Jesus to influence our conscience.  So, if the devil can have influence upon us, I don't think it is equivalent to the Spirit, and I am not sure of the modus operrandi or need.   The need for the Spirit is clear - we would be lost without it.  The need for any dark Spirit is unclear as we seem to be pretty good at evil in our natural state.    

 

Edited by pogi
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3 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think that without the Spirit or light of Christ, we would be left to the natural man.   We are taught that the natural man is selfish, etc. and can't be redeemed unless he yields to the enticing of the Spirit. I personally don't think the natural man is all evil, I think that we are capable of much good on our own, but the Spirit is required to redeem us from sin and progress eternally towards the light.  We couldn't be saved without it.  I think there is a spiritual realm that the natural man can tap into that can be life-changing.  We are taught that the light of Christ is an omnipresent spiritual presence, force, power and all-seeing source of knowledge.  It is the means by which our conscience is guided to distinguish good from evil. I am not aware of any dark spiritual force that fills all space emanating from the devil like the light of Christ does from Jesus to influence our conscience.  So, if the devil can have influence upon us, I don't think it is equivalent to the Spirit, and I am not sure of the modus operrandi or need.   The need for the Spirit is clear - we would be lost without it.  The need for any dark Spirit is unclear as we seem to be pretty good at evil in our natural state.    

 

I see what you are saying. Thank you for explaining further.  In the doctrines of the church the light of Christ and the Spirit are two different things so I agree, the influence of the devil would not operate in the same way the light of Christ does.  I'm specifically wondering about the way the Spirit works rather than the light of Christ.

I also agree that the need for the Spirit is paramount in us coming to Christ.  When I think about that I think about the doctrine of opposition, and how there must be opposition in all things.  I don't think that we, even in our fallen state, can be considered to be the opposite of the Spirit.  We aren't evil, as you said, just capable of it (as we are capable of good even without the influence of the spirit I think).  So if the spirit can and does entice us to do good then to me that implies the need of something to entice us to bad.

I think it all comes down to the need to have the ability to "choose between alternatives" (as Pres. Oaks once said).  If the influence of God is one alternative, then it makes sense to me that the influence of satan is the other.

 

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9 hours ago, pogi said:

Why does one need a devil to entice us, anyway?  Isn't greed, lust, power, selfishness, etc. enough?  It seemed to be enough for Lucifer, after all.  Why not us?

Exactly my question. I never needed the devil to get me into trouble; I do just fine on my own.

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23 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

In the recent abuse thread that Calm posted, the perpetrator claimed that “The adversary” had a hand in his sexual behaviors.  
 

I have had a negative reaction to this type of claim for decades.  IMO this claim precludes personal responsibility and makes the perp a victim.  

Doesnt matter if its sexual abuse or a benign bad thought- claiming its the adversaries influence is a major turn off to me. 
 

I don’t know that I truly believe in the traditional narrative of the devil .  If the whole narrative is true, then I’m disgusted with the whole thing.  That would mean that we CAN blame the devil for our choices.  I despise that idea, and reject it big time as I read the article posted by Calm.  
 

Is there a way to think of this differently?  I will read responses with an open attitude. 

I’m trying to understand why you seem to think saying the adversary “had a hand” in influencing someone to engage in sinful behavior is somehow equivalent to saying the devil is the only guilty party in the commission of the sin, therefore the sinner himself is absolved from all responsibility for his actions? I alway thought saying someone “had a hand” in something is the equivalent to saying he played some sort of a role that led to a certain outcome, but that the role he played isn’t necessarily the most important one. For example, saying Orson Pratt had a hand in establishing the Lord’s restored church doesn’t convey the idea that he was the most important figure of the restoration. In fact, dictionaries will tell you the idiom “having a hand in” simply means “playing a role.” But at the same time saying the adversary has no role at all when someone chooses to commit sin contradicts the scriptures. Please note that in the following Book of Mormon verse the operative word is “persuade,” which is a far cry from compel…

17 But whatsoever thing PERSUADETH men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he PERSUADETH no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7)

Edited by teddyaware
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17 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

I’m trying to understand why you seem to think saying the adversary “had a hand” in influencing someone to engage in sinful behavior is somehow equivalent to saying the devil is the only guilty party in the commission of the sin, therefore the sinner himself is absolved from all responsibility for his actions? I alway thought saying someone “had a hand” in something is the equivalent to saying he played some sort of a role that led to a certain outcome, but that the role he played isn’t necessarily the most important one. For example, saying Orson Pratt had a hand in establishing the Lord’s restored church doesn’t convey the idea that he was the most important figure of the restoration. In fact, dictionaries will tell you the idiom “having a hand in” simply means “playing a role.” But at the same time saying the adversary has no role at all when someone chooses to commit sin contradicts the scriptures. Please note that in the following Book of Mormon verse the operative word is “persuade,” which is a far cry from compel…

17 But whatsoever thing PERSUADETH men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he PERSUADETH no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7)

I understand why my statement confuses you. I was paraphrasing.  Here is the exact excerpt:

‘The adversary I’m sure worked on me,” he said, using a Mormon term for Satan. “And that’s when it was going through my mind when I climbed in bed with Chelsea and was really aroused … with the intent of spooning and snuggling you but I didn’t.”’

IMO this statement blames the devil for his actions.  It waters down his opportunity to take total accountability for torturing his child. This is disgusting to me and such statements have always bothered me. 

 

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21 hours ago, CV75 said:

I would say either delegation and coordination of effort (if devils can pull that off!) or there's plenty of the 3rd part to work on us.

Yes but delegation to who? Satan's minions are from the same batch of people that we're from. Or are we talking about fallen angels?

Who is on the list of beings that have actual mind control power?

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