Articles/Essays – Volume 57, No. 1

The Ultimate Battle

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

2 Nephi 2:11

The meticulously handcrafted Toledo steel was light but mostly indestructible, and I felt safe inside my protective armor. Across my chest was an elaborately etched breastplate with the image of a regal lion surrounded by roses. I was that powerful lion.

I felt the weight of my trusted combat-tested shield in my hands. I hefted my sword, newly sharpened and gleaming in the moonlight. I took a deep breath and settled the golden helmet on my head. Although sweat beaded inside my helmet and slowly rolled down my brow, I was ready for battle. I did not want this war, but someone had to confront the monster that finally escaped from a thousand-year prison.

I marched determinedly towards an enormous, heavy, metal-studded gate. As I approached, the door slowly creaked opened as if to say, “Welcome, Brave One! Your final test awaits within!” I did not hesitate, although I knew full well what awaited me inside.

The dragon. Always the dragon. The repeated dance between him and me. Although both seriously wounded, we each barely survived for another, and hopefully final, brutal confrontation.

The beast sat waiting for me. Fire and hate burned in the creature’s flaming eyes and an acrid smoke curled around its nostrils. The demon was coated in a thick layer of deep crimson scales and each foot was adorned in deadly, sharpened talons. His cry was bloodcurdling and his snarl relentless. His long serpent’s tail coiled and waved behind him, mocking me.

The darkness of his presence enveloped my very soul as stabs of anguish tormented in my rapidly beating heart. In some inexplicable way, the serpent knew how to reach inside my mind and play on my fears, weaknesses, and longings.

Today, however, I came with more confidence and faith in myself and my abilities. I pushed through his dark influence inside my head by fervently repeating this battle cry to myself: “You were built for this moment! This victory is your destiny! Today the war ends!”

I held the sword tight in my hand, sweat accumulating in my anxious palms. I narrowed my gaze, laser-focused on the task at hand and my responsibility. Before me towered Satan, the prince of darkness, the source of all corruption, suffering, and hate. Yes! I was staring face to face with the devil. He was here to fight and so was I.

The anger within me expanded and boiled; the pressure was near to explosion. The beast moved forward. I raised my sword high to the right, above my head, the blade sharp and deadly. As I pressed my lunge, something happened.

In a split second, my mind played a series of the most painful moments in my entire life. Each a wound, betrayal, loss, and heartbreak. And then, without the passage of time, I vividly saw myself inflicting harm on others and knew their pain and heard their desperate cries as well.

I knew, of course, that this evil fire-breathing creature had been at the very source of all these experiences. The bane of all existence.

The serpent laughed a deep, spine-chilling laugh. I looked deeply into those dark, numb eyes and took in all the pain he had caused me. Instead of charging at the demon like I had always done in the past, the voice of the light in my head said, “Choose a different path.”

Almost as violently as the anger had raged, I felt it failing me. My sword arm weakened. For the first time ever, I could see a small break in his shrouded evil eyes and nestled deep within was a glimmer of something else. Something almost childlike.

As my mind repeated my most painful sufferings, I realized each one had been the chisel and file that had sharpened and refined me in a process much like the flames and tempering that had created my armor.

To the dragon’s dismay, instead of choosing to fight. I put down my weapon, took off my helmet, unlaced my bracers, and undid all the layers of protective armor until I was completely vulnerable. Lucifer looked on confused at the sight, but no less angry and hateful.

The dragon slowly lowered his fearsome face toward me. Steam billowed from his nose. Sharp teeth protruding from his salivating mouth—a mouth turned up slightly at the corners in anticipation of his feast.

He lunged forward. I gently extended my arms, palms up. He paused. I reached out to hold his snout in my small hands. I looked into those eyes of fire and turmoil and said, “Brother! I see you now. Morning star! I see the truth. You are not the monster in my story. I am who I am because of YOU, dear Brother. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for pushing me. I love you and I forgive you with all my heart!”

Almost immediately the fire in those menacing eyes dissipated. The angry features softened. The smoke ceased. Tears gathered in his eyes that were once burned with hate and destruction.

A soft light fell around us and as I stepped back, I watched the beast in a new glow as he transformed into the image of our makers.

The light glowed brighter, more intensely, almost overpowering both of us. Through the blinding brilliance, I saw figures emerging. In due time, I recognized them as my other brother, Jesus Christ, and my Heavenly Parents, God the Father and Goddess the Mother.

Not thinking to bow, I blurted out, “Behold! My brother has come home to us at last!”

Lucifer stood still, silent, face turned to the ground. There was much shame in his features; his shoulders slumped, and his head bowed low. Without hesitation, Jesus’s face lit with an enormous smile. He stepped toward the son of the morning and embraced him. “Welcome home, my brother Lucifer! You have been punished enough. You have fulfilled the measure of your creation.”

I felt completely whole and healed in that moment. The evil in my soul healed with a family reunited. Everything that was lost and broken was fully restored. The Atonement’s healing power had wrought a mighty change, perhaps the mightiest of all.