Chapter 1 (An excerpt from the book Like Dragons Did They Fight. Get your free ebook today).
You have tried everything. You are not stupid. You have decent self-discipline in almost all other areas of your life. You know better. It is not like someone has to motivate you to stop your misbehavior. You have hated it from the beginning… and still… it comes back again and again and again. It is almost impossible to talk to anyone about it. No one is going to understand. They are just going to tell you what you already know – it is bad to do and you should stop or you are “going to Hell.”
For a while, you have maintained hope. You have succeeded before in other things and you believed you could succeed again. You have been a problem solver and you thought you could solve this one also. But… it’s not working this time. You have begun to withdraw from those who would be disappointed if they knew. You have begun crossing things off of your list of goals for your future, important things like serving a mission and getting married in the temple. As a coping mechanism for your shame, you might be questioning your faith or looking for ways to find fault in what you’ve always known and accepted to be true. You have started rationalizing.
Is there something wrong with me?
You may also think there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, you are defective, cursed, or must have been “bad” in the pre-existence. You could lie about your struggles like so many others do and get away with it. However, you have lied before, and it only made things worse. Now you avoid those who will be disappointed and/or judgemental. You catch yourself doing things to get others to leave you alone.
Perhaps at this point, you find yourself identifying with the man in the New Testament (see Mark 9:17-29) who had already tried everything in hopes of finding a solution to his son’s illness, yet nothing worked.
Christ was not intimidated by the previous lack of success. He first recognized there was a Dark Spiritual Element involved in torturing the young man. After the father begged for compassion, “Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’” Not surprisingly, “the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Prayer and fasting
The problems this young man was dealing with were resolved by prayer and fasting. I am going to guess you have already tried that. Two thousand years after this miracle quoted in the Book of Mark, Satan has improved and diversified his fighting weapons. He has become really, really, good at what he does.
President Spencer W. Kimball taught the fight against Satan and his forces “is not a little skirmish with a half-willed antagonist, but a battle royal with an enemy so powerful, entrenched, and organized we are likely to be vanquished if we are not strong, well-trained, and watchful.”1 He has had thousands of years of practice, and billions of people to practice on. You’ve had only a few years…and only yourself to work on. Whether you realize it or not, you are in the fight of your life, and the enemy you’re fighting against uses weapons unknown to you. In this day and age, the solutions like prayer, fasting, thought control and exercise, are often not enough.
Do not give up
But we do not have to give up. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the source of all truth. In it we find answers on how to beat Satan, even when he uses his most diabolical “state-of- the-art” methods of attempting to destroy our lives. In ancient Book of Mormon battles, warriors relied on the power of God. They used their bodies, the ferocity of dragons (Mosiah 20:11) and “stratagem” to defeat their enemies (Alma 43:30).
The present day warrior will also need to learn to use a combination of weapons to defeat the enemy. To win this war today, one will also need to fight with the body, the spirit and varied methods of strategy.
As you read this book and apply its principles in your life, you will develop the tools to successfully fight your own personal battles. As with the heroic Sons of Helaman in the Book of Mormon, you will need to combine a powerful connection with God (spiritual) with military-type training of your body and mind (temporal). It takes training, education, and practice to win this war, but if you are determined, it can be done. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 214).
Maurice Harker, M.Ed, is the founder and director of Life Changing Services and the Sons of Helaman program. Life Changing Services also offers addiction recovery programs for men (Men of Moroni), women and young women (Daughters of Light) as well as support programs for women experiencing betrayal trauma (WORTH).
- Kimball, S.W. (1976). Teachings of the Prophets handbook, as
quoted in the Brisbane Australia Area Conference Report, 1