Are Jesus and Satan spirit brothers?
The following is an analysis of PDF article by Michael Hickenbotham (of The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research).
His comments will be in blue italics.
"Do Latter-day Saints believe Jesus and Satan are brothers?"
"Before proceeding it should be made clear that those who ask this question out of the blue generally have a hidden agenda. Those people already know the answer to this and other common anti-Mormon questions. Their real purpose is to shock those who have little or no understanding of the LDS concept of the plan of salvation and to convince those people that Latter-day Saints have a radical and blasphemous view of Christ."
What does "out of the blue" mean in this context? Could an honest investigator of the LDS Church be accused of having a hidden agenda by asking such a simple question?
Exactly what type of people would be shocked by this type of question anyways?
Would a Muslim be shocked by this question? How about an atheist or a Buddhist? Why would they be shocked? Why would the answer of "Yes, Latter-day Saints teach that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers" be shocking to anyone?
I believe that the only people who would be surprised ('shocked' is too strong a word) by such a question or statement are those ordinary Christians who believe Jesus is God and that God created Lucifer. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jesus is Michael the Archangel and the ordinary Christian who does not know about JW theology would also be surprised by this teaching. Most lukewarm Christians in the church would respond with a typical "so what?". So what if Latter-day Saints teach that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers? Who cares?
Only Christ's sheep would care.
Very early on, Gospel Principles (a Mormon training manual) teaches that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers. It also teaches that Jesus was the first spirit born of a Heavenly Mother and Father. How many recent converts or medium-standing members of Mormonism even know about the LDS Church's teachings and declarations about a Mother Goddess?
Suppose you have a non-Mormon person reading Gospel Principles who has little or no understanding of the LDS concept of salvation. Is reading about the teaching that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers (in the first few chapters of the book) not considered as being shock treatment? Would asking this question to a Latter-day Saint, who is much more familiar with the LDS concept of salvation, viewed as an attempt to shock?
"Why would anti-Mormons want to prevent people from hearing about the plan of salvation? One possible reason is that they are afraid that once people understand the plan fully, they will accept the enlightened truths it contains to the traditional concepts taught by apostate Christianity."
Does the author of the FAIR article view apostate Christianity as the church of the devil while The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church of the Lamb of God as a Book of Mormon prophet taught (1 Nephi 14:10)?
Mormons are also opposed to the teaching of Evangelical Churches. Have you ever heard the term anti-Evangelicals? This is precisely what Mormons are. Why would anti-Evangelicals want to prevent people from hearing that God was not once a man who became a God of planet Earth, that there is no Heavenly Mother Goddess, and that Jesus is not the spirit brother of Lucifer?
"Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ holds a preeminent position among all pre-existent spirits."
Orthodox Christianity (including several references in the Book of Mormon too) believes that Jesus Christ is the Eternal God, not just an eternal being.
"Paul indicates that He was called the first begotten by the Father and the angels of God were commanded to worship Him."
It should be worth noting that both the Pearl of Great Price and the Bible refer to Jesus as the Only Begotten of the Father.
"Although the scriptures refer to Jesus Christ as the firstborn among many brethren and the firstborn of every creature, this idea is foreign to many Christians."
It may also be foreign to some people that the Bible refers to Israel and Ephraim as the "firstborn" (see Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9).
"He was the first of all the spirit progeny of our Father in Heaven and thus our elder brother."
Would Latter-day Saints equate Israel or Ephraim as being the first spirit child born to heavenly parents? Is Israel or Ephraim our elder brother?
"The concept that Christ's spirit was organized by our Father in Heaven is difficult for many Christians to accept because they have been taught that Christ is eternal in the same sense as God the Father."
Latter-day Saints who believe that Jesus is the Eternal God should have difficulty believing that he needed to be organized (formed?) into a spirit child of heavenly parents who then progressed to Godhood.
"Modern scripture helps us understand this concept: Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or light of truth was not created or made neither indeed can be. For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected receive a fulness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy."
Have you ever considered that elements are eternal just as spirits are eternal? ... for Joseph Smith revealed that all spirit is matter (Doctrine and Covenants 131:7). So in effect, this verse is saying that men are eternal spirits or eternal intelligences.
"In the Book of Abraham we are told: "If there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal. And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all" (Abraham 3:18:19).
"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born" (verses 22-23).
"And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them ... And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first" (verses 24-27).
"From these verses we learn that God organized all spirits from pre-existing intelligence."
No. These verses are saying that spirits (one more intelligent than another) are eternal. In simple terms, eternal spirits are eternal intelligences.
If you look at verse 22, it was the intelligences that were organized, not the spirits. It is not saying that intelligences were organized into something else. Also, verses 22-23 use the words "souls," "intelligences," and "spirits" to describe the same beings. They are the same.
Now, we all know that Jesus is the Son of Man. But who is the first, the one "like unto the Son of Man" that answers, "Here am I, send me?"
It seems also to equate Jesus and Satan as spirits (souls, intelligences). Now, was Jesus a God at this point when he was competing with Satan on who would carry out the plan of Heavenly Father (as Latter-day Saints believe)? If no, then exactly who are the Gods of Abraham chapter 5 who created the world in 6 days and rested on the seventh? If yes, would Satan (a non-God) have any chance of being accepted over Jesus (one of the other Gods at this council of heaven)?
"Because the intelligence from which all spirits were organized was eternal, the spirits themselves are also eternal. Therefore the spirits of Christ and all men are eternal."
Where does one see any mention of spirits (plural) being organized from intelligence (singular)? The verses in the Book of Abraham seem to equate souls with spirits and intelligences. Also, where did the eternal intelligences get their intelligence from?
The spirits of Christ and all men are said to be eternal, but the Book of Mormon calls Jesus the Eternal God too. Let us not discard this. Does FAIR believe in two different meanings of "eternal" in this context? According to the Book of Abraham, spirits are eternal, not because they were organized from intelligence (which it doesn't say by the way), but because it says "they have no beginning."
"Modern scripture has also restored knowledge of the spirit creation and what is referred to as the council in heaven where our Heavenly Father laid out His plan for this earthly existence. It also explains how Christ affirmed His support for that plan and Lucifer proposed an alternative plan that was ultimately rejected by the Father and a majority of His spirit children."
It is not clear if FAIR believes this plan was rejected based on a majority vote or not.
"The minority that sided with Lucifer chose to follow him even though it meant never receiving mortal bodies."
Would FAIR be able to provide a scripture that shows that the spirits knew they would or would not receive a mortal body based on the choice they made?
"John the Revelator described the expulsion of Lucifer and his followers from Heavenly Father's presence as a war in heaven. In fact they [these events] took place before the foundation of the world when Christ was chosen to be the redeemer of all mankind."
Teachings from the prophet Joseph Smith show otherwise.
"John saw that only which was lying in futurity and which
was shortly to come to pass."
"Now, I make this declaration, that those things which John saw in heaven had no allusion to anything that had been on the earth previous to that time, because they were the representation of things which must shortly come to pass and not of what has already transpired."
"John saw beasts that had to do with things on the earth, but not in past ages."
"The Book of Revelation is one of the plainnest books ever written."
"The revelations do not give us to understand anything of the past in relation to the kingdom of God" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1938, pages 289-294).
"The scriptures teach us that we all have one father and one God who created us. That Being is the Father of the spirits of all men, more commonly called our Heavenly Father."
It should be worth noting the Jesus said to some, "You are of your father, the devil" (John 8:44).
"Though some have tried to rationalize Paul's teaching by pointing out that those who are spiritually born again become sons and daughters of God, this in no way contradicts the fact that we all originated as spirit children of God."
But earlier it was said in the Book of Abraham that the spirits were eternal, with no origin. According to Joseph Smith, all spirit is matter (Doctrine and Covenants 131:7). Christ is the Eternal God, with no origin.
"A spiritual rebirth occurs when the Holy Spirit transforms us and our hearts are changed so that we have no more disposition to do evil."
Do you know anyone who says they are spiritually reborn and who has no disposition to do evil?
"Early examples of scriptural presupposition of man's pre-existence are found in Job, Proverbs, Jeremiah, and Ecclesiastes."
"Job 15:7 refers to the pre-existence of Adam, who was created before the hills and an allusion to the pre-existent spirits of men is found in Job 38:4-7 when the sons of God shouted for joy at the creation of the Earth."
But the Book of Abraham calls Adam a spirit who had no beginning. Have you read Job 38:4? "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding."
This rhetorical type question reveals that Job was not around when God laid the foundations of the earth.
Job 38:7 says, "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
The term "sons of God" does not support the idea of pre-existent spirits for "all" the sons of God shouted for joy. But if you recall from LDS theology, one-third of the spirit children (including Lucifer) are said to have rebelled against Heavenly Father by not accepting His plan. Were there multiple shouts of joy for everything said at this supposed council?
"Solomon declares that he was set up from everlasting and was brought forth even before the Lord made the earth. He also proclaims that when the Lord "prepared the heavens, I was there ... by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him."
This is a reference to Proverbs (8:23-30).
But if you read the passage, it is not Solomon speaking about himself, but rather Solomon speaking about "wisdom." It is "wisdom" that is doing the talking, and Solomon is narrating the symbolism of "wisdom" as a woman speaking. See verses 1-3, 12 to name a few. In Proverbs 9, wisdom and folly are contrasted as two different women.
This was missed by FAIR.
"Jeremiah 1:5 similarly speaks of the pre-existence of the prophet whom God "knew" before being formed in his mother's womb. Not only was he know, but he was sanctified and ordained ... a prophet unto the nations as Christ was similarly ordained the Savior in the pre-existence."
It says that God knew Jeremiah; it doesn't say Jeremiah knew God. That's a big difference because the Omniscient God has foreknowledge. Likewise, Heavenly Father knew about Christ's sacrificial atonement before it actually happened, but Christ was not crucified in a time believed to refer to the pre-existence.
"The preacher Ecclesiastes likewise affirms that at death the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
But the Book of Abraham says God did not give the spirit because they had no beginning. There is no mention of a spirit being changed into or formed from an intelligence.
"New Testament scriptures likewise allude indirectly to man's pre-existence. This premise was, for example, the basis of the disciples' question about the blind man: "Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" The man could only have sinned prior to his birth had he lived before birth. That sin prior to birth was considered possible is confirmed by Peter's reference to the "angels that sinned" and Jude's allusion to the same event."
If one studies the words of Jesus, you will see that the man's blindness was not caused by sin.
"Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3).
This was missed by FAIR.
"A statement in Zechariah 12:1 that God "formeth the spirit of man within him" appears to contradict the view that our spirits were created long before our bodies ...A possible explanation for the statement in Zechariah 12:1 centers on the translation of the Hebrew word yatsar. Although most translators render it formeth or forms, it might also be translated as frames, meaning places within."
Firstly, the Book of Abraham said that spirits were uncreated; they had no beginning. Secondly, would it be only Latter-day Saints who translate yatsar as "places within?"
Doctrine and Covenants (93:33-35) says, "For man is spirit.
The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness
of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. The elements are the
tabernacle of God; yea; man is the tabernacle of God".
According to this, man = spirit = tabernacle of God = elements = eternal = uncreated.
The above verses in one part say that man is spirit, but then seems to indicate that spirit and element are separate. Are you confused?
Doctrine and Covenants (93:29) says that intelligence, or the light of truth, is eternal and has always existed while verse 36 says that the glory of God is intelligence.
So does this mean that since everyone existed as an intelligence everyone had the glory of God even before being created (?) in the image of God?
"Lucifer was an angel having authority in the presence of God. He played a prominent role in the Council in Heaven. After the Father in Heaven offered the plan of righteousness to help His children become as He is, Lucifer countered with an alternative plan."
Heavenly Father is said to being helping His children become a God like Him.
This "Council in Heaven" is briefly referred to in Doctrine and Covenants (121:32):
"According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest."
Since the Book of Mormon calls Jesus the Eternal God, who is "the Eternal God" in this Council? Who are the "gods," and how is He their God?
When did the "sons of God" shouted for joy? After hearing Heavenly Father's plan? Or after hearing Lucifer's plan?
"In the Father's plan, it was foreknown that many would reject exaltation and therefore would receive lesser glories."
If God's foreknowledge of people is used to say that they existed before coming to earth, why is God's foreknowledge of something about to happen not used to also say that the event has already happened?
"Because mortals can be saved only in their own freely chosen repentance, Lucifer's proposal was rejected."
Who rejected Lucifer's proposal? Was there some form of election in heaven with the majority deciding on which plan to accept? The Book of Mormon reveals that mortals (infants who die before the age of accountability and those who die without the law) are saved without a freely chosen repentance (Moroni 8:22). Even Joseph Smith's brother Alvin was said to have been saved in the celestial kingdom without even being baptized (Doctrine and Covenants 137:5-6).
"Origen taught that "before the aeons existed, all spirits were pure; demons, souls, and angels alike, all served God and did what he commanded them. The devil was one of them. He had free-will and wanted to set himself up against God, but God cast him down. The biggest sinners became demons, lesser one angels, the least archangels."
What types of evil existed in the pre-mortal life in the Mormon Heavenly Father's kingdom to create such sinners?
"Angels and Men are of the same Species. Bruce R. McConkie makes it clear that all "angels of the Almighty are chosen from among his offspring and are themselves pressing forward along the course of progression and salvation ... because angels are of the same race as man and God."
Doctrine and Covenants (29:47) says that Lucifer was an angel of God before he rebelled. Latter-day Saints teach that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers. Did Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother procreate both an angel (Lucifer) and a man (Jesus - the spirit without a beginning - Abraham 3:18-19 + Doctrine and Covenants 93:33-35)?
"Since marriage and procreation are only part of mortal life and exaltation, it seems clear that unexalted angels, whether pre-existent spirits or resurrected beings, will necessarily be single."
Isn't marriage and procreation part of immortal life and exaltation in the case of Heavenly Mother and Father?
Was Lucifer an unexalted angel brother of Jesus if Jesus was not an angel too before coming to earth as taught by Latter-day Saints?
"A former LDS prophet, President Joseph Fielding Smith, stated that, "We accept Jesus Christ as God - the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, and the spirit begotten in the Spirit."
Since Christ is believed to be the first spirit children (begotten) born in the marriage relationship of a Heavenly Mother to a Heavenly Father "in the spirit", it would seem likely that the same President believed also in Jesus being born (begotten) in some form of marriage relationship between Heavenly Father and Mary "in the flesh."
This echoes other teachings:
That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the
Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher
manifestation thereof; and, the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity,
celestial Sireship, and pure through mortal maternity, was of right to be called the Son
of the Highest (Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, p. 9).
His unique status in the flesh as the offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal, or resurrected and glorified, Father. Jesus Christ is the Son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh (Teachings of Presidents of the Church - Joseph F. Smith, Chapter 40, p. 356).
"As God's children we all are capable of growth beyond our wildest expectations ... Orthodox Christianity has long forgotten these glorious truths and has substituted a more modest and less inspiring future reward for those God saves - eternal servants in His heavenly realm."
It should be worth noting that it was Joseph Smith himself who wrote that those who did not reach exaltation would be the servants not to God but to those who become gods and goddesses in the future:
"Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them" (Doctrine and Covenants 132:16-17, 20).
Orthodox Christianity believes that God has great things in store for them in the future. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
It seems however that Latter-day Saints believe such things have entered into their hearts.
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