Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke about the adversary's efforts to falsely interpret and undermine the blessings of living according to God's plan at Tuesday's BYU Devotional.

"One of the most cunning aspects of the adversary’s efforts to thwart our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness is his deceitful teaching that there is no evil influence or devil, and his attempt to redefine evil as good and good as evil," Elder Cook said.

Elder Quentin L. Cook
Photo Credit: 
Nate Edwards/ BYU Photo

Using three examples of paradigm shifts, Elder Cook explained how the adversary accomplishes the task of creating a paradigm shift in the lives of God's children.

Word of Wisdom

After sharing several facts and figures about the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco, Elder Cook encouraged students at BYU to take a leading role in helping others understand the negative consequences of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

"Over the course of a lifetime I have seen many of my friends’ lives blighted and sometimes destroyed by alcohol," said Elder Cook. "An alcohol culture isn’t just about Church doctrine. It is about the health and happiness of everyone. You can be an important voice in educating society about the consequences of this issue."

Elder Cook also said an inversion of values ultimately leads to unhappiness.

"What the adversary portrayed as fashionable, sophisticated and fun has in fact resulted in misery and untimely death for millions of people," said Elder Cook.

Family Choices

Elder Cook said the adversary has created another paradigm shift: alternative choices that directly conflict with God's plan of marriage and family.

"The alienation and objectification of pornography is an example of immoral conduct being substituted for the sacred institution of marriage," said Elder Cook. "It underscores the horrific turning from truth and righteousness that the adversary seeks."

Understanding that the topic of abortion cannot be solved by "personal condemnation or judgmental association," Elder Cook described how the adversary has twisted the meaning of true happiness.

"Lucifer has supported abortion and convinced many people in a horrific paradigm shift that children represent lost opportunity and misery, instead of joy and happiness," said Elder Cook. "As Latter-day Saints, we must be at the forefront of changing hearts and minds on the importance of children."

Prospering in the Land

Although some members of the LDS Church may gain wealth and prosperity, Elder Cook said true happiness does not come from excess wealth. 

"Wise financial principles include seeking the Kingdom of God first, working, planning and spending wisely, planning for the future and using wealth to build up the Kingdom of God," said Elder Cook.

Elder Cook warned about bad choices resulting in a banquet of consequences with bitter, rancid, nasty and miserable results, compared to a glorious banquet of consequences promised to the faithful.

"Isaiah has promised that at the 'Final Banquet of Consequences' the Lord of the Host will swallow up death, wipe away tears from all faces and we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation," said Elder Cook. 

Next Devotional: Cassy Budd, BYU School of Accountancy

The next BYU Devotional address will be given by Cassy Budd, professor in the BYU School of Accountancy, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center.

Her remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYUradio.