Sunday, December 7, 2008

Satan – A Man with a Plan

I found myself in downtown Salt Lake yesterday with a few minutes to kill so I dropped into the genealogical library to do a quick bit of research.  Sitting across from me was a couple doing the same.  They bantered back and forth as they worked.  The man told his partner that there were several very large families in his lineage.  One family, he noted, had 18 children.  The man opined that Satan’s Plan must be working because we do not have large families like that anymore.

In the recent Prop 8 debate, I heard the phrase Satan’s Plan used extensively by LDS members trying to explain the push for same sex marriage.  Not so much from the top of the Church, the Brethren I think are careful about that type of speech in a setting that involves non-Mormons, but I heard it a lot from the rank and file members.  Although to be fair, Mormons provide a slew of reasons why the family is under siege and how the attack is part of Satan’s Plan. 

Today in Elder’s Quorum we had a very timely and helpful presentation from a ward member who is a banker.  He made a brief presentation about the state of the economy and the causes of our current recession.  He then provided a number of measures we can take to be prudent in our financial dealings and enhance our financial well being.  He talked about staying out of deal, measuring risk when investing, the need for collaboration between spouses and children when managing a household budget, and being charitable with money.  It was one of the most on point lessons I have experienced in a very long time.  But of course this was church meeting, not a Suze Orman lecture, and the context was very much a religious one.  He equated debt free living as being in tune with God’s plan and being debt ridden as being beholden to Satan’s Plan. So, family planning, same sex marriage and debt --- part of Satan’s Plan?  Depending on the type of Mormon you are, you might see Satan’s Plan in any or all of these examples.  Or perhaps you don’t think everything you happen to view negatively is the devil’s doing. 

I personally don't think family planning is inspired by the devil and I don’t believe that Same Sex Marriage is in the devil’s play book.   But debt – that’s tricky – I am pretty down on debt having spent of good portion of my professional career representing bankruptcy filers in court.  Ok – I am willing to say that debt is part of Satan’s Plan --- whatever that means.

16 comments:

Diana Croshaw said...

I'm with you, Sanford. I really don't feel like the fact that I "only" have three kids is part of Satan's plan. Maybe according to older members of the church that never had the luxury of birth control, having fewer children than your body is able to produce would be considered one of Satan's attack on the family, but I don't see it much from the current child-producing part of the congregation. I know lots of people that feel it's okay to have a smaller family, and many of us, though we admire those that can do it well, think that it's bordering CRAZY to have a gigantic family in today's world.

You and I were discussing this earlier this week, but I thought I'd repeat it for the blog. In the church, we profess to be teaching about God's plan. Whether it's right or wrong to say it or think it, it's understandable to believe that actions and beliefs that don't fall in line with God's plan would be seen as something that would belong under Satan's plan. I do believe one of the bullet points in his mission statement includes destroying the family along with keeping us from utilizing and understanding the atonement. I'm not one of those that believes that you are worshipping Satan by neglecting your daily prayers/reading scriptures/fulfilling callings/etc but I'm sure it makes him happy when we do neglect these things. I'm sure he's thrilled when anyone recognizes they are gay and chooses to live a gay lifestyle. It just makes it harder for them to follow God's plan of happiness (as I understand it, anyway). And I'm sure he loves it when we choose to live beyond our means, acruing unmanageable debt. Money issues are a huge contributor to divorces.

Well, it's late for me and I have no idea how you or your other blog readers will respond to my comments, but I can't worry about that right now! Later!

Fifthgen said...

I actually don’t have a problem with the idea of Satan. Maybe it comes from reading 2 Nephi so much, but having accepted the reality of an ultimate force for good in the universe, it is not that big a stretch to accept that there is an ultimate force for evil. And who knows, maybe he even has a plan. That said, I think most people really overemphasize the extent to which Satan is or needs to be involved in our lives. I firmly believe that my own laziness, selfishness, weakness, etc., is enough to derail me from the straight and narrow (i.e., God’s plan) - - Satan doesn’t really need to lift a finger. The fact is, following God’s plan, whatever you believe that to be, requires effort and discipline. Maybe Satan has a plan for undermining that, or maybe the absence of effort and discipline is just how people are if they don’t try.

“Plan” is probably not a very accurate term for God’s (and Satan’s) desires for us. God wants us to do things that bring us closer to Him, and Satan wants us to do things that take us further away. These are “plans” only in the loosest sense of the word. It makes me think of a scripture I used last week in SS, Ether 4:12:

“And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me - - that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.”

I like to think that is God’s plan. I guess Satan’s plan would be the opposite.

jupee said...
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jupee said...

If debt is Satan's plan, is Obama Satan's servant? I find consumerism far more troubling than debt. I think consumerism is Satan's plan. And obesity. And environmental degredation. So, I guess I agree with Fifthgen --- if you substitute the concept of ethics for an anthropomorphic heavenly being or two.

Kendra B. 512 C. said...

Obesity? Well that is a new one. I never thought that fat people would make God unhappy and Satan smile...

Do you think that people have less kids now, not because of birth control, but partially because they can have more stuff with a smaller family. People "need" vacations, boats, bikes, fake boobs, large screen tvs, huge houses, new skis, and Bumbles. All of these things cost lots of money and by having less kids they can keep up with the Jones' (or the Smiths here in Utah) so much easier. For the cost of fake boobs I could feed my family of 6 for almost 7 months!! Now tell me you need that augmentation...

jupee said...

Kevpee says that Satan's plan is gluttony and that God's punishment is debt, obesity and global warming. He totally did. That is what I meant to say.

pb said...

I think satan's plan is to keep us all in constant warfare, including with him. As long as we're fighting satan, he's got us in his power.

Sanford said...

After talking in person to jupee yesterday I realize that the point of my post wasn't very clear. What I am trying to say is that we tend to make Satan’s plan whatever we don’t happen to like. If we really dislike something, than it really becomes Satan’s plan. It also seems to me that Satan’s Plan as far as Mormonism goes is a moving target. Take limiting family size for example. Without doing a lot a research I will generalize to say that artificial contraception and perhaps natural planning would have fallen clearly in the Satan’s Plan category for Mormons two generations ago but now it is very nearly universally accepted by Mormons that are in their child bearing years. Has Satan’s Plan changed or did he succeed? I would argue that family planning has become very practical and acceptable and as a consequence we have removed family planning from the Satan’s Plan category. As to same sex marriage, I think it is entirely possible if not probable that a few generations from now it will be removed from the Satan’s Plan category. Mormons might be way behind the curve on social change but they eventually get there. I included that debt example to show that I can demonize as good as the next guy. I just pick the things I don’t like.

jupee said...

They remain seriously "behind the times" when it comes to women. Not even an attempt at parity in leadship positions or responsiblilities. Will that come?

Mormon Heretic said...

I can't remember the exact quote, but Joseph Smith said that Satan gets blamed for many things he is not responsible for. Smith said that if Satan was responsible for all evil in the world, then there would be no free-agency.

Perhaps it makes it easy to blame Satan for everything, but we really do have our free-agency.

Heather said...

I don't believe I have ever heard the phrase "Satan's plan" before. If he does have a plan, it would be a self-centered plan to acquire more power. The only way he can do that is to persuade people to forsake the ways of God and to bind themselves him through addictive and debilating behavior. (Is there any sin that isn't addictive?) The way he does this is to establish his culture in every nook and cranny possible twisting the true principles just enough to have a claim over us.

Since having children is part of God's plan, anyone who decides to raise children - even one - must be following God and not Satan. It would seem more likely that choosing to not raise children would not fall under God's plan. Satan can have no claim over anyone keeping the commandments of God. But to be certain, there are nooks and crannies in the areas of finance and same sex attraction that Satan will twist to his advantage and will institute his culture in his relentless pursuit of power. Debt does appear to be one of them.

pb said...

Satan's plan is to make you think that his plan is a moving target. I fear that he's definitely winning the battle for your soul Sanford. You better have more children quickly.

Fifthgen said...

pb is onto something. Better to ignore Satan's plan (if there is sucha thing) entirely, and focus on God's. And, Sanford should definitely have more children right away.

jupee said...

And make a love deposit into the Life Bank 'cause I hear they're paying interest.

Rubymainia said...

Dad-
I actually read this one!!!:) It wasn't that easy to understand considering my age. But at least I read it! Bye the way, funny picture. Bye

Rubymainia said...
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