Tag Archives: william wilbanks

“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.