There has been a phrase that has become surprisingly common on missionary blogs. It is usually some variation of “I want to punch [Satan] in the face so hard”. The source seems to be a talk by President Uchtdorf given in the MTC. Multiple missionaries quote President Uchtdorf saying, “If you want to punch Satan in the face, then preach the Gospel.”
Here are some examples of missionaries talking about punching Satan in the face (all emphases mine):
- “Our investigator Chanette Scott, solid as can be and ready to come to church, sent us one of the most heart breaking texts I have ever received in my life. No words can describe the feeling best except for heartbreaking, torn apart, let down, and devastating. I just want to make this clear to anyone who is reading this. If you want to know what “Mormons” believe, go to lds.org, Mormon.org, or visit with the Missionaries. Don’t youtube it or go and ask your pastor. The world and especially the internet is so full of lies and deceiving truths, that ANYONE can be mislead. I honestly have never been so down before on my mission. She was doing so great. She believed the Book of Mormon was true, she wanted to be baptized, we were an answer to her prayers. I seriously hate Satan. I hate how he works. I want to punch him in the face so hard. Like I know we aren’t supposed to hate anybody, but we can hate Satan, because all he wants to do is drag us down to the gulf of misery and endless wo. He has no place in his heart for us except to pull us and our thoughts away from our Heavenly father, WHO ACTUALLY DOES LOVE US.” (Link)
- “I couldn’t really believe Mauro’s answer… I don’t get how BLIND people can be at times to the things of God…. Ugh…… my patience is really tried when people don’t open their eyes. It’s so hard to see people being lead by the hand of Satan… It breaks my heart and makes Elder Purser want to punch Satan in the face when the sons and daughters of God are so easily mislead….” (Link)
- “We have been focusing on finding lately, since our teaching pool is really small. We also have been working on working with the branch better by doing FHEs, service, getting referrals, taking members to lessons with us, etc…it has been going pretty well. I’m a bit discouraged this week, but I’m not giving up. We will try even harder this coming week and we will punch Satan right in the teeth by converting millions of people in Jamaica!” (Link)
- “I love being a missionary so much – no matter how hard it gets. Since it is the holidays we don’t have to drag members along as much. They are getting more into the missionary spirit. We got in another car crash this week – while going with a member to get stuff from our crashed car. We were rear ended by a semi-truck. Luckily it was going pretty slow, in traffic, so we were only hit going around 3 miles an hour. The adversary may be trying to stop our work, but we kept fighting back. I punched Satan in the face after the crash, by giving the people in the accident Books Of Mormon – and they were really excited.” (Link)
- “Something that has been keeping me going this week is a quote that Pres Uchtdorf said to us at an easter devotional while I was at the MTC, His whole talk was about the Savior, and about the resurrection. He gave some really good advice to us all. He said, “If you want to punch Satan in the face, then preach the Gospel.” haha really funny advice, but so true too. I know that each day as we go out the preach the Gospel, we are punching Satan in the face. I really have come to know, this cycle more than any prior, that every effort we give as missionaries is accepted by our Savior, and that as we do the things we have been taught to do, we are 1)making the Lord proud, and 2)punching Satan in the face. Jokes on him though because he doesn’t even have a face. sucks to be Satan, am I right?” (Link)
- “He went from vibrant and happy, to frustrated and confused. We were so sad. We went a few days feeling numb and not knowing what to do to get out of it. All we wanted to do was cry, but were too shocked and confused to be able to. We had literally watched him feel the spirit, change and experience true happiness. But it was as if he had developed a few doubts and questions in his mind, and the adversary was able to use those to destroy all faith he had ever developed. He is to the point now where he doesn’t even know if God exists. It’s tragic. If I could I would punch Satan in the face so hard! I really hope that his journey in life brings him back to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ one day. I sure have grown to love him. All I want is for him to be happy.” (Link)
- “Wow. This was an experience I will never forget. Before he spoke we had the privilege of taking the sacrament with President Uchtdorf and the entire MTC. You can imagine the spirit that was there. Wow. Then he talked about the resurrection of the Savior and the story of Peter and how fearless he was after he saw the Savior living again. His whole message was about being fearless. I am a representative of Jesus Christ, “I fear no man”. He also talked about being bold. If we are loving, we can NEVER be too bold! I love that! One of my favorite things he said was “If you want to punch Satan in the face… preach the gospel.” Haha, President Uchtdorf is so awesome!” (Link)
- On missionary even titled a blogpost as “Punch Satan in the FACE!!”
My favorite may be the first quote above “Like I know we aren’t supposed to hate anybody, but we can hate Satan…”
Punching Satan certainly reminds me of Elder Packer endorsing (“not recommending…, but…not omitting”) the act of hitting (“flooring”) a gay mission companion in his talk General Conference Priesthood Session talk “To Young Men Only” (October 2, 1976) (also here):
Now a warning! I am hesitant to even mention it, for it is not pleasant. It must be labeled as major transgression. But I will speak plainly. There are some circumstances in which young men may be tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another physically in unusual ways. Latter-day Saint young men are not to do this.
Sometimes this begins in a moment of idle foolishness, when boys are just playing around. But it is not foolishness. It is remarkably dangerous. Such practices, however tempting, are perversion. When a young man is finding his way into manhood, such experiences can misdirect his normal desires and pervert him not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.
It was intended that we use this power only with our partner in marriage. I repeat, very plainly, physical mischief with another man is forbidden. It is forbidden by the Lord.
There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.
While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.
After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, “I hit my companion.”
“Oh, is that all,” I said in great relief.
“But I floored him,” he said.
After learning a little more, my response was “Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn’t be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way”
I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.