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Book review: 'Shedding the Light on the Dark Side' analyzes Satan's patterns, tactics

Published: Saturday, Sept. 14 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"SHEDDING THE LIGHT ON THE DARK SIDE: Defeating the Forces of Evil (A Guide for Youth and Young Adults)," by Stephen J. Stirling, Cedar Fort, $10.99, 128 pages (nf)

Writing an LDS book about Satan is no easy task. It has to be written with the right tone and perspective. "Shedding Light on the Dark Side" handles this delicate topic in the right manner, with scriptural truth. It rips the mask off the master of deceit in a plain and practical way so the followers of Jesus Christ may know their enemy.

Counting up to just over 100 pages, Stephen J. Stirling's book uses quotes, personal and historical stories and scriptural references to show how Satan works. Accounts from Moses, Jesus Christ, Adam, Eve and latter-day prophets are analyzed under a lens of the adversary's patterns. Several concepts and key insights are noteworthy, such as that of Satan's greatest weakness.

The author explains Satan tempted Eve in an attempt to destroy her and make her miserable, but he failed, even though Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation. Stirling says this happened because Satan did not know the mind and will of God and his futile seduction actually set in motion a glorious blessing for Adam and Eve and their posterity.

The longest chapter in the book deals with Satan's various powers. Although the adversary can disguise himself as "an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14) or imitate miracles such as turning a staff into a serpent, the book explains that Satan's power is limited and God's power is endless. Stirling, Mormon seminary teacher, cautions readers that Satan does have power, but he can be defeated by the priesthood and through righteous living.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book are the stories scattered throughout of Satan's dealings with man from general authorities and early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The author does a great job of picking apart the stories and distilling key principles that can be applied in everyday living.

"Shedding Light on the Dark Side" is a fascinating book. The cover indicates it is a guide for youths and young adults, but any member of the LDS Church could benefit from it. Stirling is both delicate and bold in discussing the topic of Satan.

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.

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