“Take upon You My Whole Armor”
D&C 3:8 refers to temptations as “the fiery darts of the adversary”. (Also see Ephesians 6:16; 1 Nephi 15:24; D&C 27:17). In this lesson, we will focus on the adversary’s attempts to entice us to break the Lord’s commands concerning chastity, honesty, and proper language.
D&C 76:25-28 and Moses 4:3. Leaders of two forces involved in the War in Heaven had conflicting objectives. On earth, the battle continues between Satan and the Savior. In the battle against the forces of evil, the Lord has not left us unprotected. D&C 27:15-18 describe the whole armor of God:
§ Loins girt about with truth
§ Breastplate of righteousness
§ Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
§ Shield of faith
§ Helmet of salvation
§ Sword of God’s Spirit and His word through revelation
We put on this armor through sincerely and regularly praying, studying the word of God, keeping the Sabbath holy, attending the temple, and honoring the priesthood.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin warned us that Satan “seeks to find any chink in the armor of each person. He knows our weaknesses and knows how to exploit them if we allow him to do so. We can defend ourselves against his attacks and deceptions only by understanding the commandments and by fortifying ourselves each day through praying, studying the scriptures, and following the counsel of the Lord’s anointed” (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 35).
D&C 42:22-24; 59:6; 63:16. The Lord’s law of chastity prohibits lustful thoughts or actions and adultery.
The First Presidency stated: “The Lord’s law of moral conduct is abstinence outside of lawful marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper only between husband and wife appropriately expressed within the bonds of marriage. Any other sexual contact, including fornication, adultery, and homosexual and lesbian behavior, is sinful” (First Presidency letter, 14 Nov. 1991).
Elder Richard G. Scott taught: “Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage—I mean any intentional contact with the sacred, private parts of another’s body, with or without clothing—is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).
Consequences of violating the law of chastity are spiritual and physical, immediate and long-term. It affects the individual and others. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: “One of the most pervasive deceptions in recent years is the notion that immorality is normal and acceptable and has no negative consequences. In truth, immorality is the underlying cause of much suffering and many other problems that are prevalent toady, including rampant disease, abortion, broken families, families without fathers, and mothers who themselves are children” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 76).
Blessings of being obedient to the law of chastity are consistent with those enumerated in D&C 121:45-46. In addition, we feel increased peace and joy, love for our spouse and other family members, self-respect and respect for others, the opportunity for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, ability to partake of the sacrament worthily, and opportunity to receive priesthood ordinances.
President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke about ways to avoid Satan’s temptations when he warned: “You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance phone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive” (Ensign, May 1998, 49).
D&C 63:16. Keep in mind that the Lord expects and requires purity of thought as well as purity of action. Impure thoughts cause us to lose the Spirit and break our covenants with the Savior. Elder Boyd K. Packer counseled that avoiding evil thoughts is achieved by putting “something edifying in their place” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, 60). Something edifying could be a favorite scripture, a sacred hymn, or thinking of our love for our family.
Elder James E. Faust taught: “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving” (Ensign, Nov. 1996, 41).
D&C 42:21, 51:9, 97:8 teach us to avoid lying, deal honestly with everyone, and to be acceptable to the Lord through being honest.
To be honest with the Lord, we should keep our covenants and other promises we have made to Him, fulfill our callings as received from Him, renew our covenants of the sacrament worthily, and pay an honest tithing and generous offerings.
D&C 63:60-62; 136:21 concern taking the name of the Lord in vain by using it disrespectfully, using it in a common or casual way, or using it in association with coarse thoughts or evil acts.
In addition to taking the Lord’s name in vain, we should avoid vulgar, obscene, crude, or degrading speech. President Hinckley said: “Don’t swear. Don’t profane. Avoid so-called dirty jokes. Stay away from conversation that is sprinkled with foul and filthy words. You will be happier if you do so, and your example will give strength to others” (Ensign, Nov. 1997, 48).
If we fail to follow the Prophet’s counsel, we may offend God, offend associates, degrade ourselves, and lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Learning to control our language and speech is essential to our spiritual growth. As we develop the habit of controlling our language, we will find that we can avoid other temptations more easily. In addition to controlling our own language, we should, whenever possible, leave situations in which foul or inappropriate language is being used and we can raise objections to its use in our presence.
D&C 52:16; 136:24; Ephesians 4:29 counsel us about the Lord’s expectations and desires for our language. He desires that we edify one another and be meek.
Elder Harold B. Lee explained: “[The] armoured man hold[s] in his hand a shield and in his other hand a sword. …That shield was the shield of faith and the sword was the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. I can’t think of any more powerful weapons than faith and a knowledge of the scriptures in…which are contained the Word of God. One so armoured and one so prepared with those weapons is prepared to go out against the enemy” (“Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace”, BYU Speeches of the Year [9 Nov. 1954], 7).
When we follow our Heavenly Father’s counsel to put on his whole armor, we gain protection from temptations. Our lives are truly better when we obey the law of chastity, exemplify honesty in all things, and use language that is edifying.
Lessons are found on the Internet at www.neumanninstitute.org