“Satan stirreth them up continually to anger one with another”

As I’ve posted before, since being released as a bishop, I have been a Stake Institute Teacher. During this past school year, we studied the Book of Mormon. We finished the course last week, and I have to admit that in all my years in the Church, it was the best time I’ve had reading the Book of Mormon. I saw things that I’ve missed before, I learned from the students, and I felt the power in the Book.

I could probably do hundreds of posts about what I learned, but I’ll start with this…

As we finished the Book of Mormon, we read Moroni 9: 3. This is part of one of the letters that Mormon wrote to Moroni. He mentions the wickedness of the people and the destruction of the people around him. The verse reads:

And now behold, my son, I fear lest the Lamanites shall destroy this people; for they do not repent, and Satan stirreth them up continually to anger one with another.

We talked about anger for a bit, and I shared this great quote from Elder Robbins of the Seventy about anger.

“A cunning part of his [Satan’s] strategy is to dissociate anger from agency, making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control. We hear, ‘I lost my temper.’ Losing one’s temper is an interesting choice of words that has become a widely used idiom. To ‘lose something’ implies ‘not meaning to,’ ‘accidental,’ ‘involuntary,’ ‘not responsible’—careless perhaps but ‘not responsible.’

“‘He made me mad.’ This is another phrase we hear, also implying lack of control or agency. This is a myth that must be debunked. No one makes us mad. Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose! To those who say, ‘But I can’t help myself,’ author William Wilbanks responds, ‘Nonsense.’

“‘Aggression, . . . suppressing the anger, talking about it, screaming and yelling,’ are all learned strategies in dealing with anger. ‘We choose the one that has proved effective for us in the past. Ever notice how seldom we lose control when frustrated by our boss, but how often we do when annoyed by friends or family?’ (‘The New Obscenity,’ Reader’s Digest, Dec. 1988, 24)”

Lynn G. Robbins in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 105; or Ensign, May 1998, 80

I love this quote. It is so true. We used this is the basis for our Family Home Evening this past week, and my family has tried a lot harder not to be angry with one another. It’s a slow process, but it seems to be helping.

Published by Graham

Former YM President, EQ President, Bishop, and Stake Institute Teacher. Now back to being the YM President. Happily married to Lisa, with 3 beautiful children.

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  1. Very thought provoking. I’ve pondered since last night…something about the quote does not cover ‘everything’. Kinda of like along the lines of some people are super calm by nature, and others are passionate…including some are perpetually angry. I’ve lived like the latter in the past. So he’s right re ‘learned strategies in dealing with anger’.

    I’ve not read Robbins’ whole article (no time right now) however, I wonder if he touches on how- knowing our weaknesses, Satan takes opportunity to slip in and ‘make’ us say those very things we’d rather not hear coming out of our mouths. A recent example:
    My mother called me fully agitated about something she perceived I had said/done contrary to her will. I was innocent…however I was super weary and didn’t realize till the phone call was over that I had returned a harsh, bossy and slightly angry tone with her. It’s so not me and I know it. Perhaps if I had not been so tired, I would have gotten a grip-recognized his influence faster before I made the situation worse.
    The next day I did recognize Satan’s influence. And I repented. I had no choice but to offer my mother an apology the next day even though I had been ‘innocent’ to begin with.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is something to do with my belief that sometimes he (Satan) does ‘make’ us…mad or whatever. My mother’s tone was a trigger, however Satan used the opportunity.

    In Romans 7 Paul says “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it…So I find this law at work: …What a wretched man I am!”

    So then I return to your Moroni 9:3 and I love it!! ‘for they do not repent, and Satan stirreth them up continually’…Repentance: Very key

    Am I making sense? I feel like this is something we could go to greater lengths about…would love to hear others’ take.

  2. Love this quote! I too have been brought back to it time and time again this week. Not due to the fact that I go on daily tirades but simply due to his discription of ‘learned behaviour’ (yes the Canadian spelling). It is too true that as humans we are often the cruelist to those whom we associate with most often (family and friends). Looking back it is also true that anger is a choice. My mother would always tell us boys, that we decide what brand of attitude we are going to have. I have echoed this in my life. Anger is satans way of throwing dust in our eyes. It makes us lose sight of what is most important by taking the spirit away and letting that pesky natural man eep his way in. Thanks for posting G!

  3. I have turned to the first chapter of Helaman time and time again where it talks about anger and contention in the government being the reason why the people of Nephi didn’t see danger coming – and when it did, it was too late, as the Lamanites went straight into the heart of their country. I think that is true for each of us – anger can blind us to danger, but also collectively, contention can blind us, as well as complaceancy. It is almost like that each of the “anger” topics in the Book of Mormon are a “heads up, people!”

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