I’ve been thinking of something one of the young women said at church Sunday, and since her comments impressed me so much, a person in late midlife (how did this happen???), I thought someone else out there in Blogland might be touched as well. I’m constantly amazed at the strength and depth of the young people in our LDS ward. It could be that all teens are this way, but somehow I don’t think so. They’re pretty remarkable. But on with the story.

Last week several youth went to Youth Conference, a three-day event held at a college in NC; I think it was Western Carolina. Anyway, at the beginning of Sacrament meeting, the bishop asked three of the attendees to speak about their experiences, and although all of the speakers were fabulous (especially at such short notice), it’s Marie whom I’m thinking of today. She spoke of one event that exemplified three principles. I mean, really, I don’t know that many adults with the perception and awareness that she displayed and who could speak with such clarity and confidence.

The event: As Marie and some of the other young people were riding in a boat, they looked up, and to their surprise and fear, they spied a snake. One of the young men flung (?) it into the water and away from them.  
Lesson 1: Someone was brave enough to face the serpent and keep the others safe. Marie commented that we could all be like that when facing evil (a.k.a. Satan) by being courageous and casting him aside.
Lesson 2: No one saw the snake until the boat was right beneath it. Marie reminded us that Satan is stealthy and sly, ever vigilant for the right moment to strike. Hence, we must always be watchful and alert to his wiles.
Lesson 3: Just when I was thinking of what great principles Marie extracted from that one incident, she hit us with the best one of all. None of the young people knew whether the snake was poisonous or not. However, they didn’t want to take any chances so they (or one of them) hurled it away from them. Isn’t that profound? Sometimes you can look evil right in the face and not recognize it.

I guess the point of all this is to say that Satan is alive and well on planet Earth, but we might not recognize him right away. All around us are wolves in sheep’s clothing, people who appear to be “so good,” but they could lead us astray by telling us just what we want and need to hear. We, like the youth of our ward, need to be ever on the lookout the tempter’s disguises and deceptions so that we too can hurl him aside and keep on going down the river, poison-free.