Print Friendly, PDF & Email




How much of what we experience in life is a result of Satan vs inherent human needs or desires? For instance, in the temple, I can have a bad thought or some negative desire. Was that Satan or me just being a human?





Hello Patrick,

In our scriptures, and through prophetic counsel, we understand that we are dual beings: spiritual and temporal. Our flesh allows us to experience desires, appetites, and passions that we could not experience any other way. These are often referred to as appetites/passions of the flesh. To clarify your initial question, let’s confirm that we are on the same page regarding the meaning of “result of Satan.” In our life Satan has only been given power to tempt and to persuade the sons and daughters of God to do evil, or to make choices that are contrary to the plan of happiness. If we are thinking the “result” of Satan is his ability force us to make wrong decisions — this is false. If we are thinking the “result” is Satan’s power to tempt and persuade us to do wrong — this is correct — because ultimately every choice we make is our own (no one else can be blamed).

Now, seeking to pin down how much of life is from Satan’s temptations in contrast to our own personal appetites and passions will largely vary between person to person. One of the principles that is currently being highlighted is the notion of “becoming.” We have the opportunity to choose to become like God, or to choose to become like the devil and his angels. So, the question cannot be quantified for all of God’s children on the earth, because through our given “moral agency” Satan’s influence varies greatly per individual. This question is personal to our own appetites, desires, and passions in relation to God (Spirit) and this world (flesh).

Now, regarding thoughts we may have in the temple. I will share a story from the life of an individual I know. It was her wedding day, all guests invited to the temple were there. She was getting ready to enter the sealing room to be eternally sealed to her fiance. As she was getting ready, she felt that she wasn’t supposed to marry her fiance who she cared for. Tears welled up in her eyes and when the matron noticed she inquired about her tears (if they were of joy or not). When my friend responded that they were not of joy, but of concern the temple matron then said something to this nature, “The adversary does not have any power to tempt within the walls of our temples. This then is your own heart or the Spirit of the Lord providing you a final witness.” The sealing did not occur that day.

If the temple matron is correct, as I am not able to find any official authoritative source (although it rings true to my ears) then our thoughts and desires are our own in the temple. If we have negative thoughts, then this is something we can recognize that we need to overcome, and then to make decisions that will keep these negative thoughts/desires from entering our mind. This is the process of becoming. When we recognize a negative thought, we can seek to cast them out, because we do not desire them to be apart of us. As we watch our thoughts, words, and deeds we incrementally become like God as we choose the good over evil.






Copyright © 2021 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit or

Pin It on Pinterest