Home Teaching, January 2007: The Devil

Rather than attempt a witty exposition of Brother Faust’s message (a call to recognise and avoid the temptations of the devil) I have two questions that I want you to help me thrash out. You see, I’m slowly working on a project centred on the Mormon Satan doctrine. I am intrigued by the strange role of Old Sulfur Breath in Mormon theology and hereby enlist your intelligence, dear reader.

Mormons believe that Satan is real and that his primary mission is to lead you astray. Question one: what is the mechanism by which Satan tempts us? When I reflect on my own predilection to do wrong it seems I can ascribe it to just that, my own predilection.

Question two: in a Plan of Salvation that requires that humans be “tested and tried,” is Satan in fact doing God’s bidding? Is offering temptation God’s will (as intimated in our temple-centred Fall doctrine)? If it is, then the Mormon Satan is very much like the ha-satan of Job, an agent of God, akin to the King’s Eye of ancient Persia, who roams the earth testing man’s loyalty. Of course, this notion does not sit well with our popular image of a devil, an enemy to God. Explain.

Comments

  1. I am not interested in ghoulish tales of the Linda Blair Lucifer so much as a philosophical reckoning of Ol’ Wormwood.

    For a previous Luciferian post, see here. Warning: Bible nerds only.

  2. Great questions. I have wondered what role the devil plays in ‘the natural man is an enemy to God,’ which seems to explain my own failings much better than an external force. Also, it seems like Satan would have understood that, by getting Eve to eat the fruit, it was playing right into the hands of the plan of salvation. From things said in the temple, it seems like he knew how that worked actually. Also, given the three degrees of glory and the extreme seriousness of sin that gets you into outer darkness (if I understand that correctly), it seems like his power and motivation are actually quite marginal.

  3. When I reflect on my own predilection to do wrong it seems I can ascribe it to just that, my own predilection.

    Ha, that’s what you think.

  4. More powerful beings than humans also have free will, which is not abrogated, any more than is our own. Satan can be much less powerful than God, and still be malevolent.

  5. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says:

    …is Satan in fact doing God’s bidding?,/i>

    Faust. The being of such gentlemen as you, indeed,
    In general, from your titles one can read.
    It shows itself but all too plainly when men dub
    You Liar or Destroyer or Beelzebub.
    Well now, who are you then?
    Mephistopheles. Part of that Power which would
    The Evil ever do, and ever does the Good.
    Faust. A riddle! Say what it implies!
    Mephistopheles. I am the Spirit that denies!

  6. I think Mormons believe that just as God can speak directly to our spirits, “inspiring” us by communicating ideas to our minds, so Lucifer can also “inspire” us in the same way but to another end. I think we end up having something like a hemi-dualism, which is not ha-satan/satanas but something rather more like Zoroaster’s Angra Mainyu.

    Someone as sophisticated as Dr RH may mistake the prompting of this dark spirit for his own hunger for evil. In this regard, were he an American, he would be following the example of the late 19th-century Protestants who rather banished the devil.

  7. Are we expected to love Satan?

  8. Dr. B,

    Ol’ Ahriman is Ahura Mazda’s twin, equal and opposite. Explain further…

    I’m a bit of a Yezidi man myself.

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    I have in my mind the same questions you raise, Ronan, but no answers. Every time I go to the temple I can see both Lucifer fulfilling a necessary role elements (the Job ha-satan) and also Lucifer as genuinely working in opposition to God. Beats the hell out of me which is correct. Maybe there is an element of truth to both perspectives. Maybe Lucifer is filling a necessary role and thus furthering the Plan of Salvation, and maybe he fully understands this but just can’t help himself, or something like that.

  10. Seems to me from the temple narrative that Satan isn’t particularly essential to the Fall. Why else would he defend himself?

    I think that the natural man is a sufficient enemy of God to maintain the dualism required in Mormon theology. I agree that Satan/Lucifer is a real personage in Mormonism, though. Joseph Smith taught this repeatedly and manifestations of darkness are fairly common in the early Church.

  11. Very early in the days of the Thang I asked a question similar to your question 1. I wondered if in opposition to the Still, Small Voice there is a competing Quiet, Creepy Whisper. I sort of thought so at the time but now I lean more toward the idea that there are no devilish promptings because we don’t need any. Rather “sin conceiveth in [our] hearts” and we are tasked to use our free will to veto it.

  12. Geoff,
    And question 2, my man…?! (I just know the Thangers can solve this one.)

    Stapley,
    As you and I have discussed many times, the Mormon Satan is very Jobian, an essential agent provocateur. What is his great evil, then?

  13. One of the most interesting elements of Mormon theology and theodicy is that neither God nor Satan were inevitably good or evil. God, as Joseph Smith taught, became who he is by obedience to celestial laws. The same is true for Satan, who chose to become what he is. Before our God was a God and Satan was the devil, the rules of goodness and evil (agency) existed. Agency, and thus good and evil, was prevenient to Lucifer’s fall and to God’s exaltation. So I suppose that I agree with J., in that Satan does not appear necessary for any particular sin, including the Fall, although he clearly seeks to draw our attention to the attributes of the “natural man” with which we mortals all struggle.

  14. Rob Osborn says:

    Good questions!

    I believe that the part Satan plays is the exception and not the rule. By that I mean that the plan of salvation was already in place before Lucifer fell. The plan would of worked whether or not Satan would have been in place. It does not take a Satan in order for us to advance. God tempts no man! Our earth is the “exception” in worlds without number who have this Satan and the role he plays. So would there of been a fall without Satan? Probably. It does not take an evil force already in place for one to fall. If not so, then Satan can’t really be the father of lies as he would of had to have been tempted by an evil being above him.

    What I find interesting is that Satan and his works will be destroyed- they will have no power to ever tempt again. If this is true, then future worlds that are created will be devoid of Satan and his power. Now I guess one could argue that a Satan scenerio will be duplicated again for every earth, but I doubt it seriously. God has been trying to destroy Satan and his works since the beginning. He will finally accomplish this great work during and after the millennium. The reason it takes so long though, is that he can’t destroy or take away mans agency in the process!

    I doubt that the scenerio we have with satan will ever be duplicated again in future settings in the eternities. I say this because of this- Do we really need the influence of evil being forced upon us in order for us to grow? Do we intentionally sit our children down in front of R rated movies, or subject them to drink a beer, or even encourage them to hit their brothers and sisters? No, in fact we want to keep them from doing those things at all costs. What we wish for is to create a zion- a perfect society where evil cannot have any influence- it is only in this scenerio that true peace and upbringing can abound without sin.

  15. Steve Evans says:

    It is easily as difficult, I think, to discern temptations of the adversary from your own thoughts, as it is to discern personal revelation from your own thoughts. Or, at least, the mechanism for distinguishing them is similar.

    The concept of a real, individual Satan is central to mormon doctrine. Denying the existence of Lucifer would seem to be heresy. That said, there is an entire spectrum over which the adversary’s involvement in our lives can be viewed.

  16. The plan would of worked whether or not Satan would have been in place. It does not take a Satan in order for us to advance. God tempts no man!

    Rob,
    I’m wondering what we should make of Abraham 2:25. Once the decision to make a world has been made, the gods plan to “prove” its inhabitants “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”

    Prove = test = try = tempt?

    We have only one model as to how God proves man — it’s the story of the temptation in the Garden, and in it Lucifer plays an essential role, no?

    Again, this is a peculiarly Mormon exercise. For those Christians who despise the Fall, Lucifer is more easily seen as God’s enemy.

  17. (And btw, in Job, those “gods” include Satan, who is counted among their number.)

  18. (And double btw, I do not mean to suggest that Job represents “how it is” on some cosmic scale, it’s just that I find the theological parallels fascinating.)

  19. Ronan, this is something I have pondered at length, too… Curious to see what others have to say.

    I did write a post along these lines for FMH before I was invited here, if you want to check it out…

  20. Since Satan doesn’t have a body, he can inspire us to do evil the same way that the Spirit can inspire us to do good. Your agency is to choose which promptings to listen to, filling your mind with the master you choose to follow.

    It was my impression that Satan was a necessary part of the plan of Salvation. There must needs be, after all, an opposition in all things. I don’t see a problem with a Satan who is an enemy to God, and is playing a role in God’s plan. Satan can do God’s macrocosmic will of providing an advesary without being micromanaged. The devil is in the details. Given our doctrine on foreordination, I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that God knew Lucifer would end up fulfilling this role.

  21. Isn’t the intellectual problem of Satan one that arises only in a culture that concludes that those who are “possessed” are really experiencing chemically-treatable (though far from curable, at this stage of pharmaceuticals) abnormal neurological conditions, whether epilepsy, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression or multiple personality disorder?

    It seems to me that we end up with an archetypical notion of Satan precisely because we reject the prior interpretations of all the events that gave rise to the notion of Satanic influence in the first place.

    In that context, it seems to me that the LDS version of Satan is (and will be increasingly as pharmaceutical technology advances) more and more a place holder for an existential construct, rather than a particular incarnation of Voldemort (of vice versa).

  22. Well, I’d say that part of the challenge is seperating Satan the being in “Mormon Doctrine” from Satan the Symbol.

    For me personally, I am very fond of a statement I recently found in the McIntire minute book which says all of us were “oppressed by darkness” priar to God instituting the plan of Salvation and introducing it at the Council of Heaven.To me this shows clearly what should have been obvious to me from the outset (and is probably obvious to you.), that evil exists seperately and and independently from Satan. Satan as a Symbol, may represent “Anything not good cometh of the Devil.” but I believe that is either on the Symbolic level, or on the level of spiritual influence.

    In that seminal 5th book of the standard works, “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, there is a devil named Cowley who, to perform his fiendish aims, ties up the cellphone lines of all of London for several peek hours, because this will have residual effects of men beating their children, being mean to their cowrokers, etc. I like to imagine that Satan typically works like that (through residual effects, if not directly through cellphones.)

    I have had personal experiences where I felt like Satan was directly affecting me or others around me though, at points in my life.

    that about sums up my opinion.

  23. Ronan (#11): Geoff, And question 2, my man…?! (I just know the Thangers can solve this one.)

    Hehe. Well taking a whack at question 2 might lead me to wonder aloud about the actual personhood of Satan and as Steve said, doing that would seem to be heresy. So along with Kevin I am going stick with “I dunno”.

  24. As for #2, I think* the Scriptures are pretty clear that Satan the real being is not doing God’s will, based on the intents of his heart.

    _________________________________________________
    * This is only how I read the scriptures, and goes in conjunction with my answer #1. You may have an entirely different interpretation. I didn’t want to sound like an insufferable know-it-all…

  25. Perhaps I am exposing myself to be the uneducated maroon that I am, but why can’t Satan be fullfilling a role in the plan of salvation (God’s will) by being the enemy of God? I don’t see how it has to be one or the other.

  26. All I’m saying, Matt, is that according to Mormon scripture, God wants mankind “proven.” According to Mormon scripture, Satan fills that role. And, yet, according to Mormon scripture, Satan is a Very Bad Man. What is it that makes him Bad?
    Geoff, well, let’s have the heresy at the Thang and we’ll come on over…!

  27. HiveRadical says:

    On the first issue I’d say that Satan acts, in my present view, as a kind of catalyst. If you’ve ever seen what iridium does when in the combined presence of hydrogen and oxygen you’d have a bit of an idea of what I’m talking about. The chemical kinetics, the tendancy of the two chemicals, is to bond and release huge amounts of energy in the process. Yet on their own, in experiments done, over long periods of time there is no gradual decay that’s measurable in terms of them bonding. I’ve heard of decades long experiments in which no noticable bonding has occured even when present models predict that probability would have at least some natural bonding occuring in an environment in which their molecules were constantly bumping into each other. As fallen man we have a natural tendancy to create the environments aking to chambers full of potentially explosive mixes of oxygen and hydrogen. Yet with no element, moment, or seeding catalyst the reaction doesn’t occur.

    My present view is that there’s relatively little that Satan has to do with us in many cases, but he’s still vital.

    Touching on his need for the plan. My present understanding is that there may well have been contingency plans in other dirrections in terms of testing and trying us and Lucifers actions simply positioned him in a vacancy that, since filled, didn’t need the contingency plans in place in the advent of his pre-mortal fidelity.

    Kind of like the small component of our genomes that’s actually comprized of viruses. These viruses are theorized to have entered our genome at some point in the past and, in the environment of the time, actually did better at the needed processes than the original genes did in the context of the time. Thus the viruses became a better adapted, in context of the then present circumstances, component for our perpetuation. The analogy is not perfect on all levels. But I see Satan as a component used because he willed himself into a position as advantageous, or more so, than other contingency plans. The actual existance of those plans or what they would be is beyond me and demonstrates the extreme in speculation that my view is. But it works for me at present. Unless anyone feels to rip it apart, then by all means.

  28. Ronan:

    Is Satan what is proving us? Or is this life on this planet proving us? In my mind, Satan only fills a small role in all that, and it is a role that he seems, in every instance, to not be willingly filling.

    Gaskill feels it was Satan that was self-deceived in the Garden.

  29. Christopher Smith says:

    I find it fascinating that apologists like Daniel C. Peterson, whom I termendously respect BTW, can in one breath laugh at the critics who think Mormonism was inspired by Satan and in the next breath accuse critics of being agents of the devil. I don’t know what this means for the Mormon Satan doctrine, but it smacks of hypocrisy to me.

  30. Dr H, I think of the Mormon Satan as both dualist and monist, hence the reference to Mazda’s arch-nemesis (I invoked Z. bc it’s so common to see Satan as a Persian importation).

    As an entity independent of and capable of standing up to God, Lucifer represents a dualist approach to evil. As a son of God, he represents a monist approach. He seems to me within Mormonism to represent the incarnation of evil (recognizing that he is actually unable to obtain a body per se), which some would see as the necessary darkness lurking behind the grant of human agency. That appears to be the narrative of Joseph Smith’s theomachy texts.

    It’s fascinating to think about the fallen angel motif, as this places him in an Everyman context, as if there is a little lucifer in each of us.

    I personally think that Joseph Smith’s teachings about the nature of the human family and his fascination with bodily creation and the persistence of material spirit strongly suggests understanding Satan as an actual fallen angel with true malevolent powers. Not the source of evil (again confusing the hemi-dualism), but its chief proponent (with, of course, the able assistance of the current US president).

  31. Rob Osborn says:

    Ronan, KyleM,

    Satan is not “part” of the plan of salvation. The plan of salvation was established before Lucifer fell and became Satan. Satan is trying, and always has been trying to destroy the plan of salvation. Opposition in all things does not mean that there “has to be” evil in order for there to be good. All that means is that there has to be choice and consequences to all things. All this means is that there is order to God’s ways. Opposition to obedience is disobedience. When god wants to prove us to see if we will obey every command, he does not make satan an integral part of that process. All he does is leave us to ourselves to see if we will either obey or disobey.

    Satan is evil and always has been. His role as portrayed in the temple is included so that we can see that there is an adversary or obstacle that is in our way. Satan thinks though, or trys to get man to think that he is just doing what is right and what is done on other worlds. The second part of this story that we forget is that he still is trying to fulfill his own plans of lying to us about him being our savior. That was his plan from the beginning and still is. He still has a following that believes in his plan.

    He was in fact kicked out of the garden because of his disobedience. He wasn’t fulfilling any crucial part of the plan of salvation by tempting adam. the father on the other hand knew Satan’s plans and had from the beginning instituted all of the various angles so that his plan of salvation would not be frustrated. Satan on the other hand knew not the mind of God and was trying to thwart God’s plan so that there could be no plan of salvation. There is nothing good about having satan as part of the plan. All he does is hinder the plan and slow it down for people.

    The bottom line is that if we insist that there must be a satan in our plan of salvation in order for there to be an opposition in all things, then certainly god himself must be more wicked than the wickedness he would have to knowingly create!

  32. Christopher Smith: I’ve never seen or read Dan Peterson do that. Do you have any evidence or are you just being *cute*

  33. Sam MB, I only understand every fifth word, but I dig what I think you are saying :)

  34. Thanks, Rob.

  35. MW, I only understand every tenth, so you’ve got a leg up on me.

  36. anonymous says:

    I don’t think of Satan so much as one who tempts to evil action, but rather as an agent of confusion, the source of anger, the one who cultivates feelings of despair and hopelessness within. I think Satan influences our emotional state, can distort our perception of others and of the world in a way that leads us to reinterpret events with the ultimate result that we call goodness evil and evil good. The devil takes no pleasure, I imagine, in minor slips (i.e. the morally weak person may be Satan’s dupe in not being able to succeed in matching his behavior with his will, but he’s not Satan’s great conquest). It is Lucifer’s goal to turn our hearts from God, such that we actively rebel against Him. The way that this is done, it seems to me, is not to “tempt” us to eat the cookie, watch a lewd film, or tell a white lie, but rather to work slowly and insidiously on our sense of our self, and our place in the world, and our understanding of God, and so forth and so on, drop by drop, day by day until we are deeply estranged from ourselves, each other, and God. Satan is the alternate voice we hear in our heads (the Father of lies)—in opposition to the Spirit which can so dramatically shape the way we look at things.

    There are a number of naturalist (reductionist) theories that might explain this phenomenon, but many believing Mormons would subscribe to the idea of a real Satan–a fallen angel– I think. I clearly remember being taught in seminary, for example, that Satan can’t hear our thoughts and so we should say our personal prayers silently (so as not to alert him to anything you might be struggling with). Further, I’ve almost never had a blessing in which Satan wasn’t mentioned. I’ve been told many, many times in Priesthood blessings (given by a variety of persons) that Satan is working hard for the destruction of my soul, for example. Other comments have included that I should watch and pray always that I never be taken captive by him and his angels because he sees me as a threat to his work. I’ve had priesthood blessings wherein Satan has been rebuked, and I’ve been blessed to have strength to withstand his deception. Whether or not any of this corresponds to “reality,” these blessings give some idea of what picture of Satan (at least) the dozen Mormon men or so who have given me blessings have.

  37. ps the HT message is a flimsy pretext. Ronan secretly wants to know whether Satan really could wear Prada.

  38. Christopher Smith says:

    Matt W., in correspondence with countercult ministry Reachout Trust, catalogued on the Shields website, Peterson attributes to them ten probable motives (written in the first person, as if he were them). # 10 says, “We are doing the bidding of our infernal Master, the well-known father of lies.” It is possible, given how scandalized he is by the countercult movement’s assertions that Mormonism is Satanic, that Peterson only intends this metaphorically or rhetorically. Then again, when one’s own worldview is called Satanic, it seems considerably more absurd than when the same is said of someone else’s.

  39. Christopher Smith says:
  40. Ronan: All I’m saying, Matt, is that according to Mormon scripture, God wants mankind proven. According to Mormon scripture, Satan fills that role. And, yet, according to Mormon scripture, Satan is a Very Bad Man. What is it that makes him Bad?

    I don’t think God wants us proven just for the sake of proving us. He wants us to be proven because in the actual universe, evil exists, and he cannot share his power with us unless we have overcome that evil (D&C 121:36). I see the plan of salvation as revolving around character building, and this as one of the fundamental reasons behind that plan.

    So, assuming that there is a being named Satan who is the embodiment of evil, I think your question is answered rather easily. The existence of evil and of people who exert evil influence over others is the very reason we must have a plan of salvation and must prove spirits. Saying that it is part of the plan (and thus God must approve of it in some sense) misses the point. It is the reason for the plan, and the plan is a response to what God recognized as a problem. The plan is a way to bring about his purpose despite that problem.

  41. Sam, he could only wear Prada if they make shoes to fit his cloven hooves.

  42. i thought they cleaved his hooves so the stiletto heels could fit in the middle. Ronan may know.

  43. Am I exaggerating when I say that some of the messages from the First Presidency we read in the Ensign no longer ends with ‘in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’?

    I looked up other issues on lds.org from the First Presidency found in the Ensign issues and I think this omission is becoming ‘more common.’

    Does anyone want to shed some light on this topic? Quite honestly I am very curious to know more.

  44. Steve Evans says:

    Ray, that’s because they aren’t public addresses. Only talks delivered will end that way. Nothing controversial.

  45. There is a subtle distinction that is being missed here. Just because Satan “helps” the plan of salvation by being the source of “temptation” or “testing” doesn’t necessarily mean that he is divinely approved by Elohim. Satan, in one sense, is merely the embodiment of the principle of opposition, i.e., everything has its opposite. Satan chose to “do what has been done on other worlds” as his choice; he is fulfilling a purpose by his own commission, not because God asked him to.

    That being said, by his own choice he is providing a facet to our mortal testing that we and God find useful. However, if Satan had ultimately not chosen to rebel, there would have been another willing and able to take that lead role, IMHO.

  46. “Satan” means something like “opposer.” FWIW.

    Anyway, it seems strange to me to have a Plan predicated on someone rebelling (if not Satan, then someone else).

  47. Lets get one thing straight, Satan is a fiction. Early Mormonism brought the concept over from the rather evangelical strain of normative Christianity amongst which it and its founders grew up. Christianity had in its turn become infused with the idea because of its roots in second temple period Judaism, and the Jews seem to have picked up the idea from their friends the Persians – hence, the divine prosecutor angle.

    Consonant with these origins is the fact that the textually earliest mention of the devil is in Deutero-Isaiah. Of course, this did not preclude earlier Jewish beliefs in what could best be called malign spiritual powers, the most obvious example being Azazel, who had to be annualy exorcised. Then there were the usual plethora of evil spirits which were responsible for infant mortality and much besides.

    Having said this it may be interesting enough to look at LDS beliefs regarding the devil, but I would humbly suggest that research into the history and development of LDS rhetoric surrounding the same would be of even greater benefit. The rhetorical angle would be interesting primarily because in normative Christianity Old Nick has traditionally held the same place in religious rhetoric as have reds under the bed, terrorists, or Iraqui weapons of mass destruction in political rhetoric. Has our emphasis been different? Have we relied less on the bogeyman to promote right living? Have we used Beelzebub as a catch-all excuse for all the evil in the world? I don’t know.

    I believe quite simply that belief in God does not in any measure require beief in an anti-God, a special prosecutor or tester. If we have agency that is in any measure meaningful we are more than capable of choosing, or even concocting, ill without any help at all. Only in this way can we be fully accountable for our actions.

    Lastly, and within the strict remit of Ronan’s quest, I would add the observation that Mormonism omits any concept of Satan as tormentor of the wicked in hell. Of course this may simply be due to the fact that LDS doctrine omits a traditional-stlye belief in a hell … and that the mental image of some homeless guy in red leotards roaming the streets is probably a bit much for any of us this early in the morning.

    There is no devil, for I am none! …or words to that effect

  48. Spencer,

    I like your idea of exploring the Satan rhetoric in the early church. My initial sense is that the early Mormon Satan was the classic Exorcist-style demon; now he’s the guy in the suit putting pornography on the internet.

    I am grateful for everyone’s comments. I remain of the view that Mormons have a confused Satan theology. On the one hand, we have the eternal good-evil cosmic dualism that, coupled with agency, seems to preclude the need for a Satan. On the other there is the classic anti-God demon. Sitting uncomfortably in the middle is the Jobian Satan of Mormonism whose role as a tempter seems to be a necessary, even welcome part of the Plan.

    I’d like to account for the theology. It seems we have the new wine of Mormon cosmology put into the old bottle of “normative Christianity.” Coupled with this are the old Mormon tales of demonic sightings and possessions. Stir it all up and you have something a far cry from a “systematic” theology of Satan.

  49. Oh, and Spencer…greetings!

  50. “Anyway, it seems strange to me to have a Plan predicated on someone rebelling (if not Satan, then someone else).”

    Why does this seem strange to you, Ronan? Opposition seems to be a fairly universal principle. Ying and yang, etc. (I enjoy Chinese philosophy).

  51. Muad’Dib,

    Mormonism posits that that dualism predates even God. Satan, therefore, is not the equal and opposite of God (unlike Ahriman in Zorastrianism).

    Mormons tend to believe that Satan actively tempts us to sin. What hasn’t been satisfactorily explained is whether God wants him to do that or not (in Mormon thought).

  52. Steve Evans says:

    Spencer: “Lets get one thing straight, Satan is a fiction.”

    Alas, Spencer, if only anything in LDS doctrine agreed with you.

  53. “Mormonism posits that that dualism predates even God. Satan, therefore, is not the equal and opposite of God (unlike Ahriman in Zorastrianism).”

    Oh I totally agree with you. However,one can still be an opposite without being equal. One does not require the other. It is clear that Satan serves as an opposition to God’s purposes.

    There is quite a dualistic approach in LDS scripture, for example, in 2 Nephi 2, particularly verses 15 through 18, where the opposition of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is clearly linked with a fallen angel.

  54. Does any Christian religion really hold the Devil as Equal and Opposite to God? I don’t think so. They hold Satan as Opposing God, but none hold him as equal to God, else there would be no confidence in the triumph of the second coming.

  55. HiveRadical says:

    When I said “iridium” I meant “paladium” I’m getting my PGMs mixed up.

  56. Hello to you too, Ronan. I trust that all is well?

    Yes, Steve, I know. But the answer to that one lies in how one understands the concept of doctrine.

  57. Steve Evans says:

    LOL, Spencer, true enough! Ahh, what a wonderful faith.

  58. as part of the big plan (PLS) all were foreordained to callings on earth: a redeemer, a comforter, numerous prophets, countless bishops… oh, and i forgot, a temper. yes, lucifer who had “been-doing-that-which-has-been-done-in-other-worlds” was foreordained to take on the role of the temper.

    pay attention during your next temple visit.

  59. Barry, you should follow your own advice. No “temper” [sic] was foreordained to his “calling” on earth. None. Wrong.

  60. Whoa there, Barry. That is simply untenable in Mormon thought.