David B. Haight was three years short of becoming an apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ, when he spoke on the “Power of Evil.” The warnings were clear then, as they are in full force now, but good will over-power evil.
He mentioned the degradation of society because at the time of this talk evil influences were in neighborhood movie houses; hard-core pornography was easily accessible at candy stores and supermarkets. Hello, 21st Century!! The evil influences are now at our fingertips in any of the 3-4 devices we have laying around. Movies AND hard-core pornography can be viewed without having to leave the comfort of our own private world. Forty-three years ago, he likened his world to a “space-age Sodom and Gomorrah.” What would he think of our world now?
The power of evil looks as though it might overpower good. We live in a world that encourages the influences of “false prophets, false Christs, and modern movements of spiritualism … satanic influences because [victims] do not understand or realize the power of the adversary.”
Of course, we are all faced with evil, whether we shun it or devour it in tidbits. But aren’t we mostly worried for our children? It seems with every passing generation, our children get lost deeper and deeper into the vortex. What example do we set for them to be strengthened, or stand up against, what we know to be any evil monster of spiritual destruction?
This story, of an incident that happened in the 1800’s, is told by her son, Heber. Rachel, who was a seamstress by trade, was doing some sewing at the William S. Godbe house. Godbe first became disillusioned by Brigham Young, and then started his own church, “The Church of Zion,” or “Godbeites,” which followed the popular 19th Century interest in Spiritualism.
In the Parlor, a small group was gathered enjoying the novelty of receiving messages from a planchette, or Ouija Board. They called for Rachel to come and join them, but she refused. Heber had come after school and asked his mother about what they were doing. She explained that the prophet had warned never to have anything to do with a planchette, because it will lead you to apostasy, which she told Heber was evident in what she had seen around town.
The group came into the room, with their planchette, and attempted to coerce her once again, but the board didn’t seem to be working anymore. They wandered back to the parlor and once again began laughing over the messages they were receiving through the now working board. They again attempted to call upon Rachel to join them. Heber remembered being surprised that she did indeed go into the other room, and immediately the board stopped working once again.
Later on, the two discussed the incident. Rachel explained that she had prayed silently that the planchette would have no power while she was in the room. This worked the first time when it was brought into her room. Asking for protection from the Lord again, she was able to enter the room with the group. She explained to young Heber, “I rebuked its power to work and it could not move, and as you know it did not work in my presence.”
The article concluded with these words: “What about your homes, dear friends, and what about your children?” We don’t actually use the words good vs. evil so much anymore. The lines are washed out somewhat. Yet, evil still exists and good must overpower it.
We cannot assume that our family will remain untouched by evil. Every household will have to make their decision, teach eternal truths of the gospel that safeguard, and stand firm against the destroyer. Elder Haight stated,
“We are told that some of the ‘very elect’ will be enticed and deceived. Couldn’t this ‘very elect’ include your sons and daughters, even though through baptism they have already accepted Christ as their Savior? Wouldn’t the evil one concentrate on them if he found a weakness or an opportunity?”
Satan does not have the power to destroy us, only if we allow him to. We, however, have greater power that will free us from his chains. We can turn to Jesus Christ for strength to overpower any darkness that comes from evil. Jesus Christ is more powerful, more righteous, more pure, and He loves us more than Satan does. Jesus Christ truly is mighty to save.
Elder Haight spoke for the last time in the April 2004 General Conference. He left us with his testimony:
“I understand the power of prayer and of faith and devotion, and I acknowledge precious witnesses from heaven. … The gospel is true. I know it; I’m a witness of it.”
Let us not be deceived, and caught up into false representations. Satan is real, but Jesus Christ and His army will overpower all evil. We are each expected to stand ready and fight the daily battle which faces each one of us. And, according to our faith, we can call upon the powers of heaven where evil can have no effect on us and our loved ones.
Additional posts from General Conference Odyssey participants:
The Greatest Tricks the Devil Plays Nathaniel Givens
The Joy of Sharing the Gospel Daniel Ortner
Expanding Symmetry Marilyn Nielson