(This is an excerpt from 21 Principles , by Richard G. Scott.)
Much of the world is being engulfed in a rising river of degenerate filth, with the abandonment of virtue, righteousness, personal integrity, traditional marriage, and family life. Sodom and Gomorrah was the epitome of unholy life in the Old Testament. It was isolated then; now that condition is spread over the world. Satan tries to skillfully manipulate the power of all types of media and communication. His success has greatly increased the extent and availability of such degrading and destructive influences worldwide. In the past some effort was required to seek out such evil. Now it saturates significant portions of virtually every corner of the world.
We cannot dry up the mounting river of evil influences, for they result from the exercise of moral agency divinely granted by our Father. But we can and must, with clarity, warn of the consequences of getting close to its enticing, destructive current.
Satan’s increasing influence in the world is allowed to provide an atmosphere in which to prove ourselves. While he causes havoc today, Satan’s final destiny was fixed by Jesus Christ through His Atonement and Resurrection. The devil will not triumph.
Even now, he must operate within bounds set by the Lord. He cannot take away any blessing that has been earned. He cannot alter character that has been woven from righteous decisions.
He has no power to destroy the eternal bonds forged in a holy temple between a husband, wife, and children. He cannot quenchtrue faith. He cannot take away your testimony. Yes, these things can be lost by succumbing to his temptations. But he has no power in and of himself to destroy them.
The devil has great influence in this world by leading individuals to make the wrong choices. He is the father of lies. Nothing he tempts you to do will have a beneficial outcome—absolutely nothing. The hook may be baited by seemingly attractive promises and outcomes, but he is the master of deceit and his agents are powerfully effective in his cause.
Have you noticed how Satan works to capture the mind and emotions with flashing images, blaring music, and the stimulation of every physical sense to excess? He diligently strives to fill life with action, entertainment, and stimulation so that one cannot ponder the consequences of his tempting invitations. Think of it. Some are tempted to violate the most basic commandments of God because of seductive actions portrayed as acceptable. They are made to seem attractive, even desirable. There seems to be no serious consequence, rather apparent lasting joy and happiness.
But recognize that those performances are controlled by scripts and actors. The outcome of decisions made is likewise manipulated to be whatever the producer wants. A recurring pattern of deceit prevails.
One who follows this pattern of deceit tries to appear to have influence and capabilities that He does not possess. Satan is the epitome of this model of life. The adversary is a consummate bluffer. He is extraordinarily able to make people think he has power that he doesn’t have. I say that on the basis of personalknowledge. I have been in areas of the world where he has exceptional influence among the people, and I know that a determined person, one who is living righteously and can call on the power of the Lord to help, can avoid any encounters with that evil one.
That requires righteous living, it requires faith in the power of Jesus Christ, but it can be done. I know positively that is true. If he had power over our agency, he would have used it long ago.
That ought to give you a lot of courage. Never forget that Satan is a real personage with devoted, capable assistants. They are determined to overpower you, not with an onslaught of serious temptations suddenly presented, but by carefully placed, alluring, seemingly unimportant infractions of your long-established standards. The adversary would use these temptations to skillfully lead you away from the path of righteousness.
“Thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (2 Nephi 28:21). He knows that as long as you can be led by the Holy Spirit, you can resist him. The Lord has made it possible for you to resist Satan’s temptations.
When obedient, you will be inspired to know what to do and have the capacity to do it. Avoid worldly wickedness. Know that God is in control. In time, Satan will completely fail and be punished for his perverse evil. Keep in your mind and heart the truth that God’s eternal purpose is for you to be successful in this mortal life. No matter how wicked the world becomes, you can earn that blessing.