Saturday, March 26, 2011

YouTube Mormon Messages: Elder M. Russell Ballard Discusses How You Will Be Freed Through The Atonement Of Jesus Christ

This latest Mormon Messages video posted on March 15th, 2011 contains excerpts from one of Elder M. Russell Ballard's Conference addresses on addiction. The full address, entitled "O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One", was delivered during the Sunday afternoon session of the October 2010 General Conference. Elder Ballard held up the example of a fly fisherman to illustrate how Satan uses attractive lures to deceive people into embracing unattractive habits which can lead to addiction:

But Elder Ballard concludes the message on an upbeat note -- that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, addictions can be overcome.

The Prophet Joseph Smith recognized how Satan would use attractive lures in the present day over 170 years ago. While Section 89 of the Doctrine & Covenants is famous for the Word of Wisdom health code, verse 4 foreshadowed an additional problem (emphasis mine):

(4). Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—

That is probably one of the better descriptions of the modern advertising industry. Note that Joseph Smith didn't characterize advertisers as evil, but merely as conspiring men who would seek to promote their products and services most successfully. Some of the designs are undoubtedly evil, but the average alcohol advertiser is not focused on the fact that many of those who got hooked on his lures can now be found on the street corners of our cities, holding up signs that read "Will Work For Food". But even though the advertisers are not in and of themselves evil, they often operate in the service of the Evil One and facilitate his designs. Unfortunately, this is a necessary byproduct of free speech and free enterprise.

But we are equally free to reject the lures of the advertisers -- but not through censorship. Rather, we use the power of will, the power of the purse, and the power of the Spirit.

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