times in my life I've had unpleasant experiences in doing battle with
rodents. These creatures can be sources of great losses in the food
chain while also spreading disease.
in China, my first week or two of shopping experiences were
punctuated with the surprise of seeing rats scurrying across a
supermarket floor. Employees generally seemed unconcerned, though
some customers were alarmed.
that, I've rarely seen rats, at least not in Shanghai, until I was
face to face with one in my own kitchen.
suspected that something was afoot in our apartment in a beautiful,
clean complex in Shanghai's Gubei/Hongqiao region when we came home
from church one day and noticed that tangerine sitting on our living
room table had been torn open, with small long peel fragments nearby.
the glass surface below it, I could see tiny footprints. Something
had come into our living room to dine. This was unsettling.
it was mice, I began looking for how they could have come in or where
they were dwelling, but could find no clue. Our apartment is small
and easy to survey, and there weren't any obvious places for an
intruder to come through.
I bought mouse traps, including adhesive-covered panels, a cage with
a sensitive door that shuts when bait is touched inside, and some
rather frightening heavy-gauge spring-based mousetraps that could
break a human finger.
couldn't find any place with the relatively safe and effective
mousetraps I am used to in the States. But with this arsenal of
tools, I set traps for several nights trying to catch the intruder,
but caught nothing. The adhesive board, though, appeared to have been
touched, but whatever stepped onto it had just pulled itself free. No
wondered if it was all just a fluke and if the invader had gone. Then
one morning, as I was putting away some oil, the lid to the oil
bottle fell at the side of our refrigerator. I couldn't find it. I
moved the whole refrigerator out looking for it, and that's when I
noticed a suspicious pile of peanut shells under the refrigerator.
further inspection, I found a hole in the baseboard at the back near
the refrigerator. This was obviously the entry point from which the
invasion to our living room had been launched. I set traps around
that area, but still caught nothing. Finally I just plugged the hole
with aluminum foil and thought that would do the trick.
that week, I went into the kitchen in the middle of the night, maybe
around 3 AM. I think I was thirsty or something. As I stepped into
the kitchen area, I heard a noise and then I saw something scurry up
a couple of shelves on the side of the kitchen where we keep some
bread. It was a long and quite agile rat.
closed the sliding glass door to the kitchen and the critter suddenly
dived under a free-standing cabinet with drawers. I could see that
there was a new hole in a baseboard (almost paper thin material, it
turns out) that he must have chewed through to create his own opening
into our kitchen.
were two of us in this room. One thief and one victim. It was time to
end this. I grabbed some aluminum foil and plugged up the new hole. I
took my mighty bone-crushing mousetraps and set them in front of the
hole, so in case the rat stepped on them on his way back home, I'd
also set up the cage in case he ran into it on his way back home. And
then I grabbed weapon: a frying pan.
unfortunate battle was something of a cage fight, I suppose. I was
surprised by the tense emotions and the adrenalin, but there was risk
of being bitten or having the thief escape, so I wanted to make sure
I won this battle. I did, but it was ugly. When I looked under the
cabinet to try to shoo out the rat, there was nothing there. He had a
way to get up into a drawer where we kept a lot of our favorite
I opened the drawer, he flew out and scrambled straight toward his
home. What panic he must have faced as he ran at the hole time after
time, colliding with the wad of foil that left him with no hope of
escape. In that furious scramble, he trounced all over my mousetraps,
which remained wide open, unwilling to release their fury.
rat soon turned away to flee elsewhere, when the pan came down. I had
him pinned against the tile floor. I would have to apply force and
wait. It was unpleasant. I took no joy in ending his life.
I looked into his eyes of his head that protruded from under the pan,
I could imagine that he was a creature in many ways like you and me,
doing the things he is designed to do. Maybe we share 95% of our
genes. But in spite of what we had in common, he was an invader and a
threat to our health. We could not peacefully coexist, not in my
kitchen. Now coexistence isn't happening there, not for him.
encounter with the rat is a reminder of the need to be diligent in
reducing the access that enemies may have into our lives. Plug holes
and ways of entry. Watch for signs of invasion and don't shrug them
off, as too many people do in some parts of the world ("it's
just an animal," "nothing to worry about," "it's
all natural," "it's never hurt me").
signs of invasion are found, look for and overcome the weakness that
allows the invader in. Root it out.
are various invaders in our lives, other threats to our health and
well-being. The most dangerous may be those who, like Lucifer
himself, have a great deal in common with us.
sons and daughters of God may be far more sinister than any rat, for
the rat simply carries out its programmed functions, but some souls
choose to rebel against God and, in a sense, against their nature,
abusing the gift of free agency.
choose to be thieves and, like my rat, may take valuable things from
your home. Others choose to go after our most precious gifts with a
goal of exploiting or harming us.
who ignore the risk their children face with online friends in lax
environments without adequate rules and monitoring may find, as one
friend of mine did, that their child has been caught up in a world of
pornography and abusive, harmful relationships.
of us who ignore the signs in our lives of inappropriate tendencies
or unwise relationships may find the adversary has left more than a
few droppings in the chambers of our soul. His invasions can become
pervasive and painful or even nearly impossible to fully eradicate,
especially when we are slow to react to the early warning signs.
many of the lessons learned in mortality come too late, after great
damage has been done. This is why we need constant outside guidance
and advice to help us avoid the many threats around us, learning from
the experiences of others who are wiser. This is why we need General
Conference and our regular Church meetings and scripture study to
teach us and warn us of threats that we face.
is profound guidance even in some of the simplest of talks and
lessons that can help us, if we listen to the Spirit, so that we can
be sensitive to warning signs in our lives of threats to our
spiritual welfare and the welfare of those we love.
we listen and learn, we can get ideas on how to better defend our
homes and our loves, and better root out the invasion of adversary,
that great rat and sly invader whose goal is our destruction and
sorrow. We cannot peacefully coexist with him. As we learn in the
temple, he truly needs to be driven out from our lives.
Jeff Lindsay has been defending the Church on the Internet since 1994, when he launched his
LDSFAQ website under JeffLindsay.com. He has also long been blogging about LDS matters on
the blog Mormanity (mormanity.blogspot.com). Jeff is a longtime resident of Appleton,
Wisconsin, who recently moved to Shanghai, China, with his wife, Kendra.
He works for an Asian corporation as head of intellectual property. Jeff and Kendra are the parents of 4 boys, 3 married and the the youngest on a mission.
He is a former innovation and IP consultant, a former professor, and former Corporate Patent
Strategist and Senior Research Fellow for a multinational corporation.
Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are authors of the book Conquering
Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered US
patent agent. He has more than 100 granted US patents and is author of numerous publications.
Jeff's hobbies include photography, amateur magic, writing, and Mandarin Chinese.