Sunday, September 23, 2012


There were a few decades of my life where I had many opportunities to speak to youth groups several times a month. One of the strangest requests, for a subject to be addressed, was when I was asked to speak on Satan, the very Devil himself. I didn’t know whether to feel complimented or insulted that I was looked on as one who knew enough about Beelzebub, that I would be able to enlighten others
Examining just a few scriptural references we find him referred to as the slanderer, demon, adversary, spoiler, father of lies, and the wicked one. In Revelation 12:9 it is declared that he deceives the whole world. The prophet Lehi said in 2 Nephi 2:27 that the devil seeketh to use his power to make all men miserable like unto himself.

It seems the ultimate irony that the whole world could lie in a stupor of deception because of his lies while he constantly desires to propagate misery. If a person’s misery was forever on the increase one would think they would try to break the bonds of deception which authored their suffering. But alas, therein lays the secret of deception; to accomplish it in such a manner that the target is unaware of their increasing misery. In 2 Nephi 28:21 Nephi proclaims “He will pacify them, and lull them away into a carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well – and thus the devil cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”

Although I never want to be an expert on the subject, I do think it is important to pause periodically to ponder a few of the powerful deceptive tools which Satan has put in play upon the whole world and which are active today.

Deception 1
It is OK to put aside strict adherence to the principle of honesty when defending one’s political, economic or religious prejudices, especially if it strengthens my case and weakens others.

Deception 2

If others would be more civil I could easily control my emotions and would never have to worry about becoming angry.

Deception 3
Devastation, destruction and death are methods which can be used to bring peace, love and joy to the inhabitants of the world.

Deception 4

My decisions are my own and I alone will suffer the consequences; therefore, my life’s patterns should be of no concern to family, friends or

Deception 5
Those who accumulate the most stuff in life are the happiest and are the ultimate winners.

Deception 6
Everyone’s circumstance in life is a result of right or wrong choices; therefore, everyone has the individual responsibility to make the needed changes to rectify their positions.

Deception 7
Success in life comes as a result of being cleverer than your competition, even if that cleverness comes about through decisions bordering on deception.

Deception 8
Flattery is never bad since it makes others feel good and always results in an increased positive opinion of the flatterer.

Deception 9
Good and evil are relative to circumstances and it is an individual’s prerogative to determine their own standards.

Deception 10
Everyone’s birthright includes without a price to be paid, all rights, privileges and riches which all others enjoy.

Something to be aware of: There are some scriptural indications that once a person is added to the rolls of those who are deceived they themselves become propagators of deception.

For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, wherefore they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it. Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven – These things should be attended to with great earnestness. (Doctrine and Covenants 123: 12-14)


  1. God is Omnipotent! Consider that Satan had to ask God's permission concerning his servant Job:
    Job 1:9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has,and he will surely curse you to your face.”
    The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

    God is in absolute control of the heavens and earth. Thank God for the sunshine and the gentle rain. God is also the God of storm and famine.

    The deceiver can do only what God by his judgement and grace allows. Else omnipotence needs redefinition.

    "All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well – and thus the devil cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”
    My family, my dear three brothers especially, are marching to Zion.
    I worked with many brilliant Jews and not a few Muslims, each marching to Zion.
    As you know I made friends and acquaintances among Mormons, marching to Zion.

    Each of these were on a narrow and steep path. They had embraced it and it was so.
    They chose that path, but they did not define it; it was defined for them by others.
    Their texts are written in ink, on paper, therefore by other men.

    Men are fragile beings in body, mind and vision. All men!
    Yet they, as they must, have written texts, scripts, to help us get on and stay on the path to Zion.
    The very best of these men has admitted that his best insight is as looking through a darkened glass.
    Our broadest vision is as seeing a small field through a long, narrow straw.
    Yet some scripts must be written or we are as sheep, shepardless.
    Each faith, each religion has created it's own texts and thus their own distinct path to Zion.
    Their Zion is a part of their text. Each is marching to the Zion defined within their script.
    Their Zion, not THE ZION!
    So are some deceived? Are all deceived? Are all Zions one? Is Zion just the denouement necessary to a fiction?
    Fear not, God is omnipotent. We cannot be deceived but at his discretion.
    What does God afford us by our agency? Satan lies (double entendre) within!
    Our resolve must be that we do not permit ourselves the comfort of self-deception.
    That my friend is the true hard, steep, narrow and lonely path to Zion.

    Paul Maddox

  2. ¡Sencillamente... maravilloso.!

    Fidel Castro Agresott

  3. I don't usually get a chance to read all of these, but I really liked
    this one a lot. I've been thinking about a lot of these lately. The
    sad thing is that the people who need to look these deceptions in the
    face the most are the ones who see the truth of them on only a surface
    level and never truly apply them. Much the same way punk teenagers and
    disobedient missionaries do. It's interesting how the ones who are
    fooled by the deception are always the ones who think, well of course,
    I already know that. And then the ones who are doing pretty well take
    them deeply to heart. Love you guys! Have a good week!

    Ryndan Riley