by James Perry, PhD, FHEA
At various points in human history Satan, also known as the Devil, has sought to thwart the work of the Lord. One of the earliest efforts was when Satan tempted Cain to murder his brother, Abel. The incitement was an attempt to disrupt mankind and to spawn wickedness amongst ancient humans, but it failed (Genesis 4; Moses 5). Later Satan sought to corrupt the inhabitants of the earth to the point that they would be destroyed. However, through Noah’s righteousness humanity was preserved from complete destruction and Satan’s machinations were frustrated (Genesis 6-9). Such incidents also occurred during the mortal ministry of Jesus Christ. After His baptism and while fasting in the desert Jesus was tempted to worship Satan, which He refused to do (Matthew 4). Satan’s endeavours have continued over the subsequent hundreds and thousands of years and persist to this day.
The loss of the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript is an oft recounted incident in Latter-day Saint history that exemplifies the steps Satan will take to halt the work of the Lord. Lucy and Martin Harris, natives of New England, were early supporters and backers of Joseph Smith and his efforts to translate the Book of Mormon. Although initially supportive Lucy Harris grew sceptical of Joseph’s story. Martin, who had originally been reluctant to back Joseph, soon found himself aiding the young seer in his curious endeavours.
In February 1828, Martin Harris travelled to Harmony to visit with Joseph and to check on the progress being made. The visit with Joseph proved successful and Martin subsequently took some materials to several scholars in New York to confirm the translation. After his experience meeting with Professor Charles Anthon and other academics, Martin returned to Joseph. On 12 April 1828, Martin began working as scribe while Joseph dictated the translation. Prior to Martin’s involvement Emma Smith had been helping her husband with the transcription. [Read more…] about Come Follow Me Week 6 – “the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan” – Doctrine and Covenants 10-11