The doctrine of spiritual brotherhood

In responding to my recent post, “Are Mormons Christian?” an anonymous commenter objected to my claim that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Christians because he said that we believe Jesus and the devil are “literal” brothers. Elder Ballard requested that we become more involved with the dialog on the Internet about the church and our doctrine.

Said Elder Ballard, “There are conversations going on about the church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the church teaches. There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs.” In that spirit I offer this explanation.

This question has been raised and debated many times in the past, especially since Mike Huckabee made it a campaign issue in December 2007. I wrote about it back then but want to offer a more complete answer now since this reader brought it up again. My main objection to the comment is the inclusion of the word “literal”. It shows a lack of doctrinal understanding.

The doctrine of spiritual brotherhood

Here is the short LDS Newsroom answer, “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. 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.”

So Jesus and Satan are not “literal” brothers. My anonymous commenter is implying that literal means physical. That is false doctrine. Jesus was born into mortality as the Son of God. Satan never had a physical body so how could they be literal or physical brothers? They are not. I suspect that my friend was looking for shock value in his comment, just as Mike Huckabee was.

As the newsroom explanation points out, we are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father, and are therefore all spiritual brothers and sisters. That includes Lucifer, who the scriptures tell us was a son of the morning, meaning he was also a son of God, just as I am a son of God. God is the Father of all, including Lucifer. When he was cast out of heaven he became Satan or the devil.

Our spiritual family

As we declare in “The Living Christ,”We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.” Jesus Christ was the Firstborn of Heavenly Father’s spirit children. We all, along with Lucifer, were born later.

We were all with our Heavenly Father as spirits in a premortal existence. We lived together as families before we were born into mortality. Lucifer and one third of the hosts of heaven, by their own choice, decided that they did not want to become mortal and learn to walk by faith. Satan and his followers are here on the Earth. They do not have physical bodies but are spirits.

Are these spirits still considered our brothers and sisters? If so, that means that we too are brothers and sisters to Lucifer, just as we are brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ. I don’t think that is too hard to understand, do you? Perhaps some don’t like to think about it. While it is true, the idea of evil spirits hanging around and trying to lead us astray is not a pleasant thought.

Summary and Conclusion

Our understanding of the doctrine of spiritual brotherhood and the family of God only solidifies our position that we are Christians. There is no inconsistency with the idea that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers and our bold statement that we are true followers of Jesus Christ. He is our Elder Brother. We worship Him out of love because of His love for us in atoning for our sins.

We do not argue with or belittle others who have not thought the issue through or have decided not to accept the doctrine. It is straightforward and logical. There is nothing sinister about it. Perhaps my anonymous commenter does not understand the concept of a fallen angel. Who created the angels? God did of course. Who created us? The same God. The same family.

We invite everyone to study the doctrine for themselves. It is not difficult to understand. It just takes a little patience to think it through. We hope that those who do not accept the doctrine will not try to redefine it in an effort to misrepresent it to others. Instead of telling others what you think we believe, please point them to official sources where they can interpret it for themselves.

2 thoughts on “The doctrine of spiritual brotherhood”

  1. Pingback: General Authority training – advanced subjects | Latter-day Commentary

  2. Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. This is not a mere warm and fuzzy appellation. This is the title of the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of all things. Our redeemer is the LORD of hosts, the Holy One of Israel. (Isa. 47) Our Messiah is God himself. This is impossible to miss in scripture.

    “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself. (Isa. 44)

    As the Most High God, Jesus Christ is in no way a brother of Satan. Certainly Satan, as a former son of morning, had the privilege of serving the Lord like the rest of the angels, and thus could have entered the brotherhood of Christ, but he chose to disobey the Lord instead and to lead a rebellion against righteousness.

    There is no basis for saying Mormons believe Satan is Jesus’ brother. If a Mormon does believe that, he’s pretty stupid.

    I think those who claim Mormons believe odd things like Satan is Christ’s brother are gaining impetus from some laziness on the part of certain Mormons. These Mormons fail to learn their scriptures and draw close to the Savior, to really know him. Even though the scriptures clearly identify Jesus Christ as the King of Kings, God himself, our Savior, these Mormons just can’t get it through their thick skulls that Jesus is God, and I do mean GOD.

    I’ve noticed that an alarming number of latter-day saints mix the Lord up with Heavenly Father. Go to a Mormon Sunday School and you’ll hear these kind of people giving lessons, saying stupidities like Psalm Sunday is all about Heavenly Father, that Heavenly Father is the King who will return to reign and rule in the millennium, and that we can only pray to and worship Heavenly Father.

    I’ve got news for these sloppy Mormons, who are so disrespectful of the members of the Godhead that they don’t even bother to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings during scripture study: Jesus Christ is the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty One of Jacob. Throughout the scriptures Jesus Christ is known as the Father of Creation and the Father of our Redemption. It is he who is the Father of Israel. He has been and always will be our Father in Heaven.

    Now that I’ve probably ruffled a lot of feathers, let me just say that Father in Heaven is a title that belongs to all members of the Godhead. That said, Mormons are apt to identify the Lord’s father as Heavenly Father. That’s the name we call him, and so, when I refer to Heavenly Father, I am not speaking of Christ, but of the individual to whom Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and said: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

    But just because the Lord’s Father and the Holy Spirit stand by him in all things does not make Jesus Christ any less Lord. Yet you will find idiots in the church who don’t know that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Nephi is Jesus Christ. Once at church I was even soundly chastised for saying that Moses prayed to the Lord and the Lord answered his prayers, simply because I mentioned that the Lord is Jesus Christ.

    Some officious and ignorant Mormons think that we are not allowed to pray to Jesus Christ. Quite the opposite is true. We are commanded to pray to the Lord. Jesus Christ is the LORD. We are indeed required to worship him and pray to him.

    It’s no wonder other Christians are dubious about whether Mormons are Christians. We’ve got a lot of members lazing around, refusing to take in the significance that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, the only true and living God. They’ll even go so far as to rebuke someone who recognizes that Jesus Christ is the God of the Bible, the God of the Book of Mormon, and the God of all true scripture.

    So do other Christians capitalize on the indolent minds of some Mormons? Do they use Mormon stupidity to add fuel to their fire that burns Mormons as evil incarnate? Yeah. But there are a number of Mormons who are actually inviting it.

    My advice is that these Mormons should stop lallygagging around thinking they know something and develop a personal relationship with Christ. Then maybe it would be harder for people to believe that Mormons think Satan is Christ’s brother.

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