Don't Be Deceived (Alma 30)
Here's a story I sometimes relate when Election Day is approaching:
Once upon a time, a man died and appeared before God at the gates of heaven. God told the man that he was going to spend one day in heaven and then one day in hell and, after that, he would be permitted to choose which place he wanted to spend eternity in.
For his day in heaven, the man was shown the mansion he would live in, he met many of the people mentioned in the scriptures and attended a joyful gathering of the saints, all singing praises to the Lord who was in their midst. It was a very blessed day.
The next day, the man was delivered to the gates of hell. He was greeted warmly by Satan who was decked out in a tuxedo. He was taken to an exclusive country club for brunch and was excited to meet many famous celebrities who were members there. In the afternoon, he played a round of golf on an immaculate golf course. After dinner at a five-star restaurant, he went to a party where he met lots of fun people and just had a great time.
The next morning, the man told God, "Well, heaven is certainly a great place, but I have to say I think the other place would be more fun for me, so I'm going to live there." In accordance with his wishes, the man was brought back to the gates of hell.
But it was different today. Satan looked much uglier and devil-like now. The temperature was much hotter and the sounds of laughter had been replaced by sounds of weeping and gnashing of teeth. The man was handed a shovel and directed to a nearby pile of coal.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute!" the man said. "This isn't right; it wasn't like this yesterday. What happened between yesterday and today?" Satan replied, "Yesterday, we were campaigning. Today, you've voted."
The above story is, of course, fictional. It is also inaccurate in a very important way — we don't get to choose our eternal home after we've died. No, we actually need to choose our eternal home right now, while we're living this life. And, since the choice is made in this life, be aware that the devil is campaigning very hard right now, trying to get as many people as possible to choose his way. And the campaign seems to be going well. Serving God is now depicted by some as living in a fantasy world and by others as being hateful and intolerant. On the other hand, going against the teachings of Christ is depicted as being more loving and inclusive.
But don't be deceived! If you're looking for a loving environment where all are valued, the kingdom of God is the only choice. The enemy of our soul will make his way look as attractive as possible, but it's only to deceive people. Once the "votes" are locked in by death, then those who have chosen his way will see his true colors.
Alma 30 relates the story of a man named Korihor who is described as "Anti-Christ" in that he goes about convincing people that there would be no Christ and that the church leaders have been misleading them to get gain and have power over the people. Finally, Alma calls down the power of God, and Korihor is struck dumb such that he can no longer speak. At this point, Korihor realizes he is wrong and writes out the following message:
"Behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray…he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true" (Alma 30:53)
Note the key phrases. He was deceived into thinking the followers of God were the ones who had gone astray and needed to be straightened out. His words were pleasing to the human mind, and, due to his successful arguments, he convinced himself that the words were true. Until he realized he had been deceived. But then it was too late. Sadly, Korihor is forced to spend the remainder of his days going from house to house, begging for food, which eventually brings about the end of his life:
"As he went forth among them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead. And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell." (Alma 30:59-60)
Don't be deceived! The enemy can appear as an angel of light; he can make his ways appear to be loving, respectful, inclusive, fun, etc. But remember that he just has one goal — to bring you where he is. Put your faith and trust in God; He's the one who truly loves you and will be there for you in the end. Only the power of God can defeat the enemy, so make sure that's the way your vote is cast.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.