The scriptural heading for the February 1-7, 2021 Come, Follow Me lesson encourages us to, “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:5). The very thought that we may be victorious pierces our very souls.
To conquer and overcome is what we want for ourselves, our families, friends, and the world. We recognize that Satan has gathered his mighty forces and is determined to crush us into submission. However, we have the faith to follow through as we have been prepared by our Prophet and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Prophet Is Tested in Translating the Book of Mormon
The Prophet Joseph Smith stands as a great example for us to follow. In the beginning stages of translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith would read aloud the words from the gold plates while Martin Harris wrote them down.
After translating 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, Martin Harris wanted to show the translation to his family. He asked Joseph for permission to take these pages to his home twice, and both times the Lord told Joseph, “No.”
Martin, though, pleaded with Joseph a third time. After Joseph prayerfully petitioned the Lord, Martin was given permission to take the transcribed pages home with the provision that he shows them only to his wife and certain other people.
After a few agonizing weeks of not hearing from Martin, Joseph went to see him and heard that all 116 pages had gone missing. Joseph immediately went to the Lord and prayed for forgiveness. The angel Moroni came and took the plates for a time, and Joseph lost his translation “privileges for a season” (Doctrine and Covenants 3:14). This would have been beyond devasting as this all took place because Joseph had set “at naught the counsels of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 3:4).
The Lord directed Joseph to “repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work” (Doctrine and Covenants 3:10). Soon Moroni returned the gold plates and Joseph’s gift to translate was restored (see: “Chapter 4: Martin Harris and the Lost Pages: 1827-1828,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories , 18-21).
Everyone Is Invited to Repent
Like Joseph Smith, none of us are perfect. At times, we have found our consciences pricked so severely that we hang in the depths of sorrow. If we truly humble ourselves and go before the Lord and repent, Christ will lift us to heights we have never experienced before just as Joseph Smith experienced. We too can know that God is merciful and involved in our own lives.
Elder Matthew S. Holland, of the Seventy, has beautifully reminded us that: “We must never forget that the very purpose of repentance is to take certain misery and transform it into pure bliss … The instant we come unto Christ—demonstrating faith in Him and a true change of heart—the crushing weight of our sins starts to shift from our backs to His” (The Exquisite Gift Of the Son, Ensign, November, 2020).
Indeed, conference talks and other counsel provide the guidance we all need to come off conqueror. For example, Elder Bednar recently shared how important it is for us to be aware of dangers that surround us: “Our world has seemingly been filled recently with strong wake-up calls. From natural disasters to a deadly pandemic sweeping the globe to a most pernicious social plague of racism, we are daily reminded that we need to awaken to the perilous times that surround us, come to ourselves, and arise and turn to our Divine Father, who desires to instruct and edify us through our trials” (“And When He Came to Himself (Luke 15:17)” [Brigham Young University Law School Religious Freedom Annual Review, Jun. 17, 2020], newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org).
It is important to be aware of events going on around us so we can adjust to our own situations as they arise. Our beloved Prophet, Russell M. Nelson and other Church leaders have informed us, asked us, pleaded with us, and implored us in the sure direction we need to take in directing our energies for safe passage on our way home.
Our Prophet’s Guiding Questions
At the October 2020 general conference, President Nelson asked six key questions to keep us on our covenant path: “Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life? Will you allow His words, His commandments, and His covenants to influence what you do each day? Will you allow His voice to take priority over any other? Are you willing to let whatever He needs you to do take precedence over every other ambition? Are you willing to have your will swallowed up in His?” (Let God Prevail, Ensign, November, 2020).
What stood out to us in the Prophet’s counsel is the word willing and how it applies to all of us in each and every question. Are we, indeed, willing to let God prevail in our lives? We need to pray like David that we will be delivered from our enemies ( Psalm 59: 1 – 5 ). To conquer, Elder Melvin J. Ballard explains that we need to develop self-mastery in this life, “I should like to say to you that there is no time, and there never will be a time, when men and women can conquer and master and overcome the flesh and the devil as now in mortality” (“The Struggle for the Soul,” Liahona, Sept. 1984).
Although there are days of trouble ahead in the coming conflicts, Elder Steves and I have no fear of the outcome. For while Satan is here on earth seeking to win the hearts of men, the Lord and His power are here and shall triumph. Every man or woman who will adhere to gospel principles shall find himself qualified to stand and not fall. We can escape the plagues and perils of this hour. Peace will come by keeping the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. As sure as we live, victory shall come for all who are willing to let God prevail in their lives.