“We truly are in a battle. The war is real.”
These were some of Elder Craig C. Christensen’s opening lines as he addressed hundreds of Latter-day Saints at the most recent, annual FairMormon conference held in Provo, Utah.
Indeed, one need only look online to discover the seemingly numberless company of voices which seek to tear down The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and its members.
Considering Satan’s incessant attacks against the Church, Elder Christensen offered both encouragement and further suggestions as to how we can stand firm in our faith and diminish his efforts.
“Fiery Darts of the Adversary”
The Church and its leaders are well aware of the battlefield which exists online, Christensen explained. This is why they work closely with nonauthoritative entities such as FairMormon, Book of Mormon Central, and the More Good Foundation, in an effort to combat the “fiery darts” coming towards us.
Websites such as Fair exist not only as apologetics geared towards nonmembers but as a place where faithful members can go when they have sincere questions about Church doctrines, history, policies, etc.
Having positive, unofficially associated sites or individual voices that defend and promote the Church is an essential piece of fighting the negative content generated daily against the Church. In fact, Elder Christensen proposed that only about 10-15% of the online response to antagonists should come directly from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints itself. The rest must come from the general body of church-members.
It’s up to us.
The Shield of Faith
The remainder of his talk centered on building our own firm foundation of faith, as this faith is what will be necessary to stand up to others. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians,
Above all, taking the shield of afaith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6:16).
Elder Christensen spoke extensively about Joseph Smith’s ability to withstand attacks from the adversary. It was something he prepared himself for through pondering, scripture study, developing faith, having humility, and recognizing the hand of the Lord in his life.
Likewise, each and every member is responsible for employing their own “shield of faith.”
One main aspect of bolstering our faith Christensen touched upon was the ability to receive personal revelation. He quoted President Russell M Nelson who famously said,
…in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost…My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.
Having the Holy Ghost with us can be considered our first line of defense against the adversary. If we are not receiving and feeling the Spirit in our lives, we are far more susceptible to the cunning, enticing voices which seek to lead us astray. Obviously, there are many things we can do to invite the Spirit—prayer, scripture study, temple attendance, service, etc. If practiced with regularity, the Holy Ghost can become a constant, guiding influence in our lives.
Elder Christensen acknowledged that much of his talk would seem somewhat simple compared to some of the other highly intellectual, research-based speeches given at the Fair Conference. However, it is these simple actions which will help us win our daily battles.
2 Great Truths
Lastly, Elder Christensen emphasized 2 key truths which we should focus on when considering our testimony of the Church.
In 1935 the First Presidency declared there are 2 great truths which must be accepted in order for mankind to be saved.
Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God.
God has restored the Gospel to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.
Consider these two points. Do you believe them? Gaining a testimony of these two truths is foundational for believing anything else the Church teaches.
Just like he recently expressed in a devotional address he gave at Brigham Young University, it’s important to focus on the primary questions—those which are essential for our salvation. He admitted he has many questions of his own—like how Moroni was able to appear in young Joseph’s bedroom—which will not be answered in this life.
Nonetheless, we can have many questions answered, and our faith strengthened by turning to the proper resources and believing that God will answer us in the way that will be best for us at any given time.
This is a war we can and will win.