Selected Teachings on
Three Types of Temptations

David O. McKay (Quorum of the Twelve)

When Satan said, “Command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3), he was appealing to the appetite. He knew that Jesus was hungry, that He was physically weak, and [he] thought that by pointing to those little lime stones which resemble somewhat a Jewish loaf of bread, he could awaken a desire to eat. Failing in that, when he received the divine word, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), Satan then tried Him in another way. He dared Him—an appeal to His pride, to His vanity.… But the Savior answered him in terms of scripture, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7). What was the third? An appeal to His love of power, domain, wealth: “All these things [the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof] will I give thee,” said the tempter, “if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).

Now, nearly every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of those forms. Classify them, and you will find that under one of those three nearly every given temptation that makes you and me spotted, ever so little may be, comes to us as (1) a temptation of the appetite; (2) a yielding to the pride and fashion and vanity of those alienated from the things of God; or (3) a gratifying of the passion, or a desire for the riches of the world, or power among men. (Conference Report, Oct. 1911, p.59)