How’s Your GPA? (Satan Wants to Know…) — Part II

February 15, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 3:10 pm   Category: Devil's GPA,Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

Tonight for family scriptures I broke out the parable of the sower from Matthew 13 for my little children. It was slightly over their heads (I got questions like ?what is God?s special word?? ? as in singular) but as I read the parable and succeeding explanation out loud it dawned on me that this parable was further support for my theory on the Devil?s GPA!

The Devil?s GPA is the code name I use for what I think is the fundamental content of Satan?s playbook as explained in the scriptures. I introduced the concept in an earlier post, but here is the list temptations we?ll face in mortality from greatest to least:

G: Greed and Getting Gain (Plus the power wealth brings)
P: Popularity, Prominence, Praise of Men, Pride, Power (at least the influence part)
A: Appetites and Addictions

I have loved this idea since I read somewhere that President Mckay taught similar things. I hadn?t seen it in this parable until tonight. Here goes:

The seeds by the wayside = Appetites and Addictions

And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: ? When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
(verses 4, 19)

I was thinking about some of the appetite scourges of our day like pornography, and drugs and it dawned on me that these sins are so awful because they take us out of the game before we can even start. Our goal and purpose in mortality is to seek truth from our Father and follow it. Succumbing to these base appetites numbs our spiritual sensitivity to such a degree that we have nearly no chance of understanding the word when it is taught. We are deaf to the Spirit when we are in the clutches of these appetites. This parable sounds like an excellent description of that problem to me. One for one.

Seeds on stony ground = Praise, Popularity, Prominence

Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. ? But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
(Verses 5-6, 20-21)

Is it just me or is this description strikingly similar to the descriptions of those in Lehi?s dream who partook of the fruit of the tree of life but fell away when they were mocked by those in the great and spacious building? The problem here is a textbook of the ?P? in the Devil?s GPA ? they were more concerned about impressing their fellow men than they were about pleasing God. Two for two.

Seed among thorns = Greed and Getting Gain

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: ? He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (Verses 7, 22)

Ah yes, the final and most difficult test — proper handling of riches. We?ve talked about this subject around here at some length in recent weeks. In the parable the plant is coming along nicely until riches slowly creep up and choke it to death. That?s why this is the most challenging of the three ? it sneaks up on us when we think we a home free. We say ?Hey, I?ve avoided the porn, I?ve keep the word of wisdom, I don?t back down when people mock the church? but when we are asked to consecrate all, like the rich young man we go away sorrowing? Choked by the deceitfulness of riches. Three for three. (Funny how all these things start tying together, huh?)

Wow! Having typed it out I must admit: That is even a better fit than I imagined it would be. How did I miss that before? The answer to that question is probably also in Matthew 13:

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
(Verses 10-11)

I guess until tonight it was not given for me to understand this mystery, but now it is. With any luck it is given to you as well.

So have you seen other places of the Devil?s GPA at work? What do you think of this model I like to use? Is it a useful way to see the strategy of our Adversary?


  1. Nice chiasm.

    I think you’re onto a good thing here. I’ve written previously about Lehi’s dream and the parable of the sower , but I’d not thought to put it into this context before. It ties in nicely with Matt 3-10 as well.

    Hmmm, maybe I should write something about that. 

    Posted by pate

    Comment by Anonymous — February 16, 2005 @ 2:22 pm

  2. Nice post on Lehi’s dream, pate. I referenced it here for the (P) section but you are right that it falls exactly into the same genre. Part I of this topic was based on the temptations of Christ — I have used that as the primary archetype in the past, though I suspect I’ll see it everywhere in scripture in the future. The concept is certainly more ancient than the NT (as Lehi?s dream proves).

    Nibley liked to add Power as a 4th primary temptation but based on the scriptures I think keeping it as 3 and spreading power between (G) and (P) works better. I?ll have to add your blog to my check list. Thanks for commenting here! 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 16, 2005 @ 2:51 pm