A candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America posed a question to a New York Times reporter, “Don’t Mormons believe Jesus and the devil are brothers?” He said the reporter was a bright young man . . . but he wasn’t Mormon. So why he would ask a point of doctrine to someone who would have no idea . . . I haven’t a clue.
But I’d like to answer that question now.
On December 12th of 2007, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) issued a press release as an official response to this question:
Like other Christians, we believe Jesus is the divine Son of God. Satan is a fallen angel.
As the Apostle Paul wrote, God is the Father of all. (1 Thessalonians 1:1; Hebrews 12:9; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 8:6) That means that all beings were created by God and are His spirit children. Christ, however, was the only begotten in the flesh, and we worship Him as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. (Answering Media Questions About Jesus and Satan, LDS News Room, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec 2007)
So, let’s start at the beginning. In Revelations, Chapter 12, we learn of a war that was in heaven. What was this war about? Who was involved?
We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father, every single one of us, regardless of our levels of righteousness or wickedness, it is an inescapable fact. Looking around the world today, we see wickedness abounding and the righteous fighting to hold back the tide. We see really good people and we see really bad people. It was similar to that in heaven, where we all lived before we came to this earth, minus the really, really wicked people.
I do not know, nor has it been written by ancient or modern prophets, how long we lived as spirit children of God before it was decided we had progressed as far as we could. Nevertheless, that time arrived. There was a great council in heaven where Heavenly Father presented a plan so that we could continue in our eternal growth:
According to the plan, you could not continue to progress continually without the opportunity to enter mortality and receive a physical body. Here on earth you would have experiences that would help you learn and grow, and you would be proven to see if [you would] do all things whatsoever the Lord would command. (Abraham 3:25) The purpose of the plan is to help you become more like your Heavenly Father. The fact that you are living on Earth means that you accepted Heavenly Father’s plan and came here wanting to do all you could to receive all He has to offer. (Plan of Salvation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec 2007, www.mormon.org)
The only way this plan would work is if a Savior were provided to redeem the world, all of Heavenly Father’s children. There were two who stepped forward to offer themselves as Savior. One in utmost humility and love for His father and all created by Him, and another, with pride and arrogance.
The first was willing to follow the Father’s plan of agency and consequence, being that Savior, providing prophets and apostles to the children of God (Romans 8:16-17,21) and willing to play a key part in the plan of salvation. We would grow, we would reach toward the heavens or we would turn away. The choice would be up to us.
The second, assured the Father he would force every one of us to return. There would be no agency, no growth and certainly no eternal reward if we had not grown since leaving our heavenly home. All glory and honor would go to him, not the Father.
In Isaiah 14:13-15 we read of Lucifer:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ, the best and brightest, the most righteous, the most humble, the most loving of us all. Lucifer, once a son of the morning, threw it all away striving for glory and trying to impose his will on God the Father. This is where Revelations, Chapter 12, picks up.
Lucifer, now known as Satan, raged against God, Jesus and all who would follow him. A great war ensued, and rages on to this day, one of which a living prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley, has spoken:
That war [in heaven], so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured,” Ensign, Jun 2007, 4–9)
This war in heaven was fought between the followers of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the followers of Satan. The followers of Satan lost, as they will today.
The Book of Revelations tells us that Satan and a full one third of the hosts of heaven, one third of our brothers and sisters, were cast out of heaven never to participate in the plan of salvation.
Those of us here on earth followed Jesus Christ. And approximately 2007 years ago, a child was born in a lowly stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a clean manger, hastily prepared by Joseph. A new star, born that night, shone high in the sky and angels appeared, declaring the birth of the Messiah of all mankind. Shepherds and wisemen sought the newborn King, as many seek Him today.
Jesus Christ descended from His heavenly throne and now would take on the mantle He’d promised the Father, that of Savior and Redeemer. He would be revered. He would be mocked. He was beloved. He was hated and through it all, Jesus Christ remained perfect in all things, in all times and in all places. At the age of thirty He began His proselyting mission and traveled from city to city across the Middle East preaching of His Father, our Heavenly Father, and the His plan of salvation.
At the age of thirty-three, His mortal mission complete, on the night before the betrayal of the Son of God, Jesus Christ entered the Garden of Gethsemane and suffered for all the sins, sorrows, illnesses and grief of the world. We had chosen Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, and now Jesus delivered on His promise and covenant made in that grand council in heaven.
We chose Jesus Christ and He chose us. As Abel was Cain’s brother, so too was Jesus Christ Satan’s brother. He is our brother too. He is a fallen angel, one who turned his back on God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ, and is determined to destroy us in every possible way. A creature of misery and rage, he is the very antithesis of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Why would Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to know about this war in heaven and its players? President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency under the prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, said of Satan:
I know that there are some in the world who deny the existence of a personal satan. This denial is false, being sponsored by the father of lies himself, but there is nothing new about it. The anti-Christs, at his bidding, have denied the existence of Satan from ancient times. The fact is, however, that Lucifer is a personage of spirit, just the same as Jesus and you and I were personages of spirit before we were born. In the spirit world, he was a personage of great ability. Isaiah refers to him as a son of the morning. “O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground,” he laments. (Isaiah 14:1)
Yet Lucifer rejected the Father’s plan for the salvation of the human race and sought to substitute his own plan. Not prevailing, he, with one third of the hosts of heaven, was “cast down, and … became Satan … the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will,” that is, those who will “not hearken unto my voice.” (Moses 4:3–4) (Marion G. Romney, “The Price of Peace,” Ensign, Oct 1983, 3)
If a “son of the morning” could deceive himself into thinking he could win against God, capture all the glory and honor and get away with it, how easy is it for us to fall? Have you heard the phrase, “How the mighty have fallen? Satan is the prime example of that.
I chose Jesus Christ in heaven and I choose Him now. He is the Prince of Peace, the promise Messiah, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord, our God . . . oh yes, I choose Jesus Christ once again.