In the classic Superman movie series (Superman 3), starring Christopher Reeve, we find that Superman is contaminated by some Kryptonite. In an interesting scene, the evil Superman lands in an auto junkyard, screams, and then has his alter-ego, Clark Kent, emerge. The two duke it out, until the real Man of Steel, his true identity, wins.
Today, we find people struggling with their true identities. Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn. Rachel Dolezal insists she is African American, though her white parents dispute it. Some have green hair, multiple piercings and tattooes. Others may find their identity in their sexuality, drug use, religion, education, wealth, possessions, ethnicity, etc. Many are coming forth to distinguish themselves from everyone else Facebook, Twitter and other online services help people come forth to say, “Here I am! Look at ME!”
Sadly, such focus on certain temporal particulars of ourselves actually cause us to lose our fully authentic selves. The Book of Mormon actually talks of a time when the people knew their true selves:
And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happierpeople among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.. There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were inone, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (4 Nephi 1:15-17)
We see that the people did not distinguish themselves. They were not Nephites nor Lamanites, but found their true, secret identity: “children of Christ and heirs to the kingdom of God”
Satan wins when he divides us. The divisions come when he confuses us over what our true identity is. The Book of Mormon continually notes fine clothing as a sign of division, as we later see in 4 Nephi:
And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world. And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them. And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ. (4 Nephi 1:24-26).
No longer equals as children of God, they sought out their own ways. As Elder L. Tom Perry noted in General Conference,
We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established.
Elder Perry explained that the family organization is an eternal and important component of who we really are. To look at just one small part of who we possibly may be and to make it the center of our devotion to self, is to listen to the soothing lies of Satan, who is glad to give us the philosophies of men with some scripture mingled in.
Because of our culture of wrong identity, we see an America that is shrinking in its belief in Christ and goodness. Even as with the apostate Nephites in 4 Nephi, many of the sins of their day are now becoming commonplace and accepted, even preferred.
And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites; and they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did wilfully rebel against the gospel of Christ; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, even as their fathers, from the beginning, did dwindle….And it came to pass that two hundred and forty and four years had passed away, and thus were the affairs of the people. And the more wicked part of the people did wax strong, and became exceedingly more numerous than were the people of God….And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic. (4 Nephi 1:38-46)
Suddenly, we see that big business and wealth replaced charity and oneness. As they grew wicked, the law of God and the knowledge of being God’s children were replaced once again by envyings, strifes, tumults, whoredoms, lyings, murders, and any manner of lasciviousness (sexuality).
Marriage is diminished as people use no-fault divorce, live together, or change God’s pattern for something else. God’s plan of consecration and providing for the poor is offended by those who enrich themselves in false government programs that maintain a war on poverty that only grows the numbers of poor. God’s love for his children and His desire for them to be like him are twisted by Satan’s counterfeit claims of radical freedom: justifying alternative lifestyles, dishonesty, and contention.
It isn’t something new. Satan confused Cain into declaring himself unique:
And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness. And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him. And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands. (Moses 5:31-33)
How many of us proclaim ourselves free of God, by taking up our own counterfeit identity? And we see if increasing in America. Satan is currently winning the battle of the hearts of men, so that “even the elect are deceived” in some cases.
Rather than encouraging alternative lifestyles, we should be encouraging all to reveal their true secret identity: children of God and heirs of his kingdom.