Elder M. Russell Ballard in October 2010 General conference shared the following analogy:
“Autumn is a particularly exciting time for the fly fishermen, for this is the time trout are driven by an almost insatiable hunger to feast in order to fortify their bodies against the scarcity of winter food.
The goal of the fly fisherman is to catch trout through skillful deception. The adept fisherman studies trout behavior, weather, the water current, and the types of insects trout eat and when those insects hatch. He will often craft by hand the lures he uses. He knows these artificial insects embedded with tiny hooks need to be a perfect deception because the trout will identify even the slightest flaw and reject the fly.
What a thrill it is to watch a trout break the surface of the water, inhale the fly, and resist until it is finally exhausted and reeled in. The test is the pitting of the fisherman’s knowledge and skill against the noble trout.
The use of artificial lures to fool and catch a fish is an example of the way Lucifer often tempts, deceives, and tries to ensnare us.
Like the fly fisherman who knows that trout are driven by hunger, Lucifer knows our “hunger,” or weaknesses, and tempts us with counterfeit lures which, if taken, can cause us to be yanked from the stream of life into his unmerciful influence. And unlike a fly fisherman who catches and releases the fish unharmed back into the water, Lucifer will not voluntarily let go. His goal is to make his victims as miserable as he is.”
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have spent a lot of time in classes, workshops, trainings, and seminars learning everything I can about psychology and counseling interventions. There are countless theories out there seeking to explain things like personality and human development. While the theories are plentiful, many of them come into alignment and agreement on certain questions about what constitutes a basic human need. The most universal of those basic human needs being our need for love and belonging.
The above quote from Elder Ballard made me think about Satan’s carefully crafted counterfeits. “Why wouldn’t he exploit our need for love and belonging?” I thought. The answer being, of course, he would.
To get us to take the bait, however, he first has to ensure we are hungry. He does this by seeking to convince us we don’t belong. Our families will never get us. We don’t have anything in common with our siblings or with our peers at church. No one understands you. Your parents hate you. You’re alone. You’re not good enough for the people you love.
How he accomplishes this sense of alienation I will likely address at another time, but for now, we will leave it at this; Satan wants you to believe that you’re so unique that you need to find a new community.
And so, we start searching. We gravitate towards people with similar experiences, similar pasts, and similar struggles. He convinces us that here, among this loving and accepting community, we will finally find the love and belonging that we seek.
“This is my family! These are my people! I belong in THIS community!” are the carefully constructed lies he fabricates to answer the doubts he himself cast upon your prior attachments. In that sense, he both delivers the poison and then sells you the cure.
The antidote, then, is in a recognition of the truth. The truth that you belong to a community, but not one built around the myriad ways in which we divide and subdivide ourselves. Your community, the place that you truly belong, is among the children of a perfect God in Heaven who loves you in ways you can not at this moment comprehend.
You are so much more than your self-imposed mortal labels and restrictions. You are Gods in embryo, and it’s feasting upon this truth that will ensure you are never ensnared by Satan’s carefully and skillfully crafted lures.
- “O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One” -Elder M. Russell Ballard, October 2010
- “The Great Imitator” -Elder James E. Faust, October 1987
- “Deep Roots” -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, October 1994