Speaking on two difficult topics, abuse and pornography, Elder Richard G. Scott has made some interesting observations about Satan and his approach:
Satan….has extraordinary capacity to lead an individual into blind alleys where the solution to extremely challenging problems cannot be found. His strategy is to separate the suffering soul from the healing attainable from a compassionate Heavenly Father and a loving Redeemer.
…Satan will strive to convince you that there is no solution. Yet he knows perfectly well that there is. Satan recognizes that healing comes through the unwavering love of Heavenly Father for each of His children. He also understands that the power of healing is inherent in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Therefore, his strategy is to do all possible to separate you from your Father and His Son. Do not let Satan convince you that you are beyond help.
“To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse,” April General Conference, 2008
Seated across from me was a despondent man, head buried in hands, sobbing from the inevitable consequences of repeated violations of the commandments of God. He anguished: “I don’t know what to do. Everything is pressing in on me. I’m tired of running. There is no peace, no happiness. When I pray, no one is listening. What’s the use?”
I have known him for a long time. His parents and others have tried to give him guidance with little success. Because of his choices, he has become separated from the truths that would help him. He has not cultivated faith in the Master nor in the power of prayer. His decisions are centered on what could quickly satisfy his cravings. He either ignores problems or lies about them. He has manipulated the generosity of parents and friends to attempt a quick fix to challenges. He does not evaluate the consequences of today’s decisions on tomorrow’s life.
As my heart sorrowed for him, I realized he does not see the world as it really is—a place of joy and happiness, of true friendships where faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His teachings invite the Holy Ghost to prompt correct decisions. He lives in an environment dominated by the influence of Satan. He has not followed sound counsel, because in his world he cannot see how it would possibly work for him. This distorted view of life is reality to him. It was forged as he succumbed to the subtle temptations of “Go ahead. Try it. Nobody will ever know. It’s your life. Live it the way you want to. They can’t force you. You have your moral agency.”
These promptings and the allure of the forbidden led him down a path that seemed fascinatingly attractive. He was carried on the crest of the wave of appetite and passion, oblivious to the consequences until the inevitable crushing encounter with the laws of God occurred. That produced pain, remorse, and regret. Then Satan provided other direction: “There is no way back. You might as well keep doing what you’ve been doing. It’s hopeless to try to change.” Because of his sins, he cannot see a way out of his failures. He will not see the tools needed for a new life in his current environment. His tragic, confining world has been created by the violation of eternal law, motivated by desire for a quick response.
Do you find yourself in a similar circumstance? Have you done things that you wish you had not done? Is it difficult for you to see any way to solve your problems? Does there seem to be an oppressive, crushing weight that’s always there no matter how you seek to shake it? Under the influence of powerful emotions or stimulants you may have periods where there seems to be relief. Yet in the quiet moments of reflection that inevitably come, you realize that your life is not what you want it to be. You may publicly complain that your friends and even the Lord have abandoned you, but in times of sober reflection you realize it is you that have abandoned them. Oh, please, decide now to find the way back to the refreshing peace and joy that can replace the fleeting pleasures of sin and the subsequent agony and emptiness. You have confirmed what the scriptures teach: “wickedness never was happiness.” Earn enduring joy now from a clean and purposeful life.
I know that you can escape the controlling influence of the evil one, and the repressive chains that bind your life. That relief will require you to accept a solution that is likely foreign to your current personal experience. It will require you to exercise faith in a Father in Heaven who loves you. While you may not understand why now, you must trust that the Savior has given His life so that you can make the required changes in your life, changes that will bring peace and the illusive success that always seem beyond your reach. Believe that you can overcome the depressing environment in which you live by trusting that there is a better way. You must seek the help of others who understand and live that better way, even though you cannot see it now. This will require you to learn and obey the teachings of the Lord. Once you have fully committed yourself to that change, you will find that it is not as difficult as it now may seem.
Richard G. Scott, “To Be Free of Heavy Burdens,” Ensign, Nov 2002