To those who despair of healing and peace, there is hope in Christ.Many of us are familiar with the story in Numbers 21 in which the fiery serpents come among the children of Israel. To save the people, at the instruction of the Lord, “Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived”.
This story has particular relevance to our day, when addiction—especially to pornography—is plaguing our society and families. Just as fiery serpents swept through the camp of Israel, pornography is sweeping through our world, and even the Saints of God are not escaping unharmed. President Thomas S. Monson has aptly called pornography “deadly.” President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) called it a “plague” and “poison.” In very real ways, the serpents of addiction are attacking us as fiercely and with as devastating consequences as the fiery serpents attacked the children of Israel.
Most of us are aware of the sad consequences of addictive behavior, so instead of focusing on the dangers of pornography and the pain associated with addiction, I would like to share a message of hope.
Look to the Savior
Numbers 21 isn’t the only scriptural account about Moses’s brass serpent saving the children of Israel. In the Book of Mormon, Alma spoke of this symbol as well:
“Behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live. “But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them. “O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?
“If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God” (Alma 33:19–22).