Elder Peter M. Johnson: ‘Power to Overcome the Adversary’

General Authority Seventy

Notable quotes:

"It is my prayer that we will recognize the confirming influence of the Holy Ghost as we come to fully understand that we are children of God."

"My dear friends, please do not let anyone steal your happiness. Do not compare yourself to others."

"There is a spiritual enlightenment associated with the sacrament -- it is personal, it is powerful, and it is needed."

Summary points:

  • As elect sons and daughters of God, each has power to overcome the adversary.
  • The adversary uses tactics of deception, distraction and discouragement.
  • Loving God, praying, reading the Book of Mormon and partaking of the sacrament will help individuals conquer Satan’s tactics. 

Talk summary:

As taught in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” all beings are created in God’s image. Each has a divine nature and destiny as a spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents. Knowing the divinity of Heavenly Father’s children, the adversary seeks to limit their earthly and heavenly potential. He uses tactics of deception, distraction and discouragement, also known as “the three Ds of the adversary.” 

Satan seeks to deceive individuals by influencing them to forget who they are. He attempted to do this with Moses by calling him a “son of man” and urging Moses to worship him. However, Moses resisted and remembered he was a son of God, the only God whom he would worship. If people do not understand who they are, it is difficult to recognize who they can become.

In addition to deception, the adversary seeks to distract individuals from following Jesus Christ. Technology can be a form of distraction if not used correctly. The adversary also desires for God’s children to be discouraged. Such feelings can come from comparison or thinking one is not meeting expectations. Discouragement can diminish one’s capacity to feel the love of Heavenly Father and His son.

There are four things that can help individuals overcome the three Ds of the adversary and remember their divine identity. First, remember the first and great commandment to love God, themselves and others. Second, pray in the name of Jesus Christ every day. Third, read and study the Book of Mormon every day. Fourth, prayerfully partake of the sacrament weekly. By doing so, “we will come to fully understand who we are as sons and daughters of God.”

About the speaker:

  • Elder Peter M. Johnson was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York City as the fourth of five children. 
  • He is the first African-American General Authority. 
  • He was a muslim member of the Nation of Islam during his younger years in New York City
  • He attended BYU-Hawaii on a basketball scholarship, and joined the church because of missionary efforts he experienced there. 
  • He married his wife, Stephanie, in 1990 in the Salt Lake Temple. They have four children.
  • He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Southern Utah University. He received a PhD in accounting from Arizona State University.
  • He was a former Area Seventy and member of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy in the North America Southeast Area.
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