Other General Authorities, Published in the Ensign

When armies are formed, battles are generally fought on vast battlefields. But this battle for souls is quite different. The conflict goes on each day in individual lives and pits the Lord’s troops against Satan’s forces of greed, selfishness, and lust.

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I spent a majority of my life as a pilot in the United States Air Force. The men of my squadron remain, to this day, a tight-knit group, keeping in close touch after 40 years.

In our training as fighter pilots, one of the first and most basic rules was, “Take care of your wingman. Constantly check his six o’clock to make certain no enemy is sneaking up behind him.”

If it is good advice to protect comrades in a fighter squadron, it is great advice to stay close to and protect our quorum members as we strive to stand firm on the Lord’s side. We should be eager to go out and find them when they stray.

Standing firm on the Lord’s side is especially valuable today. Our prophet regularly points out that these are the last days. We know from the signs of the times that the end is drawing near. And Satan knows it as well. He and his forces never seem to sleep.

In a worldwide priesthood leadership training meeting, President Hinckley, noting the immoral conditions in the world, stated, “I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

He went on to say, “They and their wicked inhabitants were annihilated. We see similar conditions today. They prevail all across the world. I think our Father must weep as He looks down upon His wayward sons and daughters” (“Standing Strong and Immovable,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 20).

I do not know how much more our prophet has to say for us to consider ourselves warned.

In a recent conference talk, Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated: “These signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. … While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us. We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming” (“Preparation for the Second Coming,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2004, 7–9).
Robert C. Oaks, “Who’s on the Lord’s Side? Who?” Ensign, May 2005, 48

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Crowds pushed toward Christ along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, eager to hear his message as he began his mission to mankind. Many disciples followed him during these days. However, some of them were offended by Christ’s teachings and turned away from him. Upon their departure Christ asked his twelve disciples if they also wanted to leave him. Simon Peter answered Christ’s question by asking, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:68).

This question is as relevant and urgent today as it was two thousand years ago. As Latter-day Saints we believe that Christ shows us the way and place to go and what we must do to find him. It is up to each of us to recognize Christ’s way and to follow it.

A few months ago I had the privilege to hear a powerful testimony from a man searching for the truth. Through the gospel his eyes were opened to the eternal and he was able to redirect his life. At the same time I learned that a faithful member of the Church had distanced himself from the gospel and had changed his beliefs. Both men had tried with good intentions to find out to whom they should go but arrived at opposite conclusions and, therefore, went diverging paths. What can be the cause for such opposing actions?

I believe that words and actions are rooted in our thoughts and that our thoughts determine our deeds. Our daily decisions, planned or spontaneous, are the result of our thoughts, and we are responsible for them. Although we as individuals might think that we are and can act independently of God, we cannot escape the realization that we are subject to eternal laws. Our happiness and our peace in this life, as well as in the life after, depend on our readiness to base our thoughts and actions on God-given laws. True peace of mind and everlasting happiness come from being in harmony with God. If we are to be one with Deity, then it is we who must change—and not God.
Hans B. Ringger, “Lord, to Whom Shall We Go?” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 83

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I would like to speak to you today about a strategy for war. We sing the hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers! Marching as to war” (Hymns, 1985, no. 246). Paul said, “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8). In the book of Revelation we are told of a war in heaven (see Rev. 12:7). What kind of battle? What kind of war?

The war is for the souls of men. The battle lines have been drawn since Adam: evil versus righteousness. In this the final dispensation and in preparation for the Millennium, the forces of evil have intensified and united under the powerful influences of Satan. On the opposite side of the line, the kingdom of God is clearly sounding the trumpet of righteousness, as perhaps never before. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on the offensive in the declaration of good to be good and evil to be evil.

Isaiah prophesied of our time on this very subject when he said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20.) Satan offers a strange mixture of just enough good to disguise the evil along his downward path to destruction, as described by Nephi, an ancient prophet, when he said:

“For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into 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” (2 Ne. 28:20-21).

Satan does rage in the hearts of some. Many he will lull away into carnal security; others he flattereth, or he says there is no hell. He has lured and enlisted many followers with enticements of fame, riches, and power. He forges a Rembrandt-quality representation by calling evil good and good evil. He has confused many people, even nations and leaders, to the point of an immoral approach to moral issues.
Durrel A. Woolsey, “A Strategy for War,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 84