After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen. (Matt. 6:9-13)
If you will observe the laws of the kingdom of God, you will become new in your minds, fresh in your imaginations, and powerful to do good; then God will bless you and prosper you in all your undertakings. (Heber C. Kimball, JD 9:42)
one of the author’s
high school teachers,
who inspired him to study
Mormonism when she gave him
a Book of Mormon inscribed with
“Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.”
The general message of the Holy Scriptures pertains to and is centered in the doctrines of the Kingdom of God. Without a knowledge of the true significance of that kingdom, the scriptures have very limited meaning. Regrettably, however, there is perhaps no other Bible doctrine that has suffered so much misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and change as that of the Kingdom of God. Even as a spiritual doctrine, the modern priests have only added to the confusion.
The Old Testament contains a history of the struggle of that kingdom–from its birth and rise to the eventual demise. In the New Testament it was the principal announcement of John the Baptist and was the main subject of the Book of Revelation. Christ also taught the “Gospel of the Kingdom,” and it is in order to rule in that “Kingdom” that He will return to earth.
Today preachers everywhere are pounding their pulpits, calling for people to accept and join the Kingdom of God–yet they are ignorant of the reality of what they are asking people to accept. Thousands of scriptures refer to it, and yet this Kingdom is one of the greatest mysteries, even to avid students of the Bible.
God’s Kingdom extends through galaxies, yet its perfect order is found in the microscopic atom. God governs the universe as part of His Kingdom, but His biggest problem is that part “within you.”
Jesus admonished us to “seek first the kingdom of God,” yet it seems to be the last thing mankind is looking for–and probably the last thing to which they will willingly subject themselves.
All the prophets, disciples, and holy men have spoken of God’s Kingdom with the greatest respect, so shouldn’t it be worthy of our deepest study and consideration today? But it is only those whose hearts are touched by the precepts and spirit of the Kingdom of God that will ever taste of the beauty and glory of it and experience its power and blessings.
This volume is the first in a series of books by this author on the subject of the Kingdom of God. And at that, this is just the beginning of information that has been written and revealed on the subject. It is so broad that it covers every phase in the history of man’s existence; for, in reality, God’s Kingdom never had a beginning and will never have an end. Understanding the Kingdom of God was never more important to mankind than in the time in which we now live.
 Chapter 1
DEFINITION OF THE KINGDOM
How can the world know the things of God? They can read about them, but they cannot know them without the Spirit of God; . . . They know nothing about this kingdom; we do not expect them to know. . . . (Brigham Young, JD 11:250)
For 2000 years the definition of the Kingdom of God has been discussed and debated by some of the brightest Christian minds. Not only has this caused confusion and misdirection, but it has even resulted in war, destruction, and death. Thus, it is important for us to understand God’s Kingdom if we ever expect to have a part in it.
The scriptures often mention both the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Some people claim they are the same, while others think there is a difference. In reality, the major distinction is in their location. The Kingdom of God can refer to an earthly or heavenly kingdom; whereas the Kingdom of Heaven refers just to the kingdom in heaven. It is similar to talking about the Church of Christ, or more specifically the Church of Christ in Jerusalem. John Taylor gave one of the most direct and most correct definitions that has ever been presented. It was the first sentence in his book entitled The Government of God: “The Kingdom of God, is the government of God, on the earth or in the heavens.” (p. 1)
 And Brigham Young concurred:
What is the kingdom of God? * * * When we talk about kingdoms, we talk about governments, rule, authority, power; for wherever there is a kingdom, these principles exist to a greater or less extent. (JD 6:19)
A more specific definition came from the Protestant minister, Herbert W. Armstrong, who wrote:
Four things are necessary to constitute a kingdom:
- The territory, with its specific location and definite boundary lines.
- A king or supreme ruler or governing agent, ruling over:
- Subjects or citizens within that territorial jurisdiction, with:
- Laws and form of government. (The True Gospel, Armstrong, p. 8)
It is hard to believe that a Protestant minister could analyze and define the Kingdom of God so clearly and correctly. Interestingly enough, about 100 years previously, Brigham Young had given a very similar definition, mentioning the same four components:
We talk a good deal about building up the kingdom of God upon the earth, according to the knowledge and understanding we have in regard to the kingdom of God; it requires several things to constitute a kingdom. If there is a kingdom, there needs [to be] a king, ruler or dictator; some one to govern and control the kingdom. What else does it signify? It says, in language that cannot be misunderstood, you must have subjects; if there is a kingdom there must be a king and subjects; and there must be territory for the subjects to live upon. Well, now, if we are in a kingdom, do you think we are in a kingdom without law? No; the  strictest law ever given to mankind is the law of God. (JD 13:91)
Here defined in simple terms are the basic four components of the Kingdom of God– (1) a King, (2) His subjects, (3) His territory, and (4) His laws. All other explanations are merely elaborations upon these four.
It is more than coincidental that both Young and Armstrong, representing such different religions, said exactly the same thing about the Kingdom of God–a subject that has remained such a mystery to other religious leaders. However, Herbert once delivered a radio talk in which he quoted almost word for word from a Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood manual. It is reported that in his youth, Herbert had been a Mormon–thus explaining the concept he had of the Kingdom of God. Regarding kingdoms in general, he also stated:
What Is a Kingdom?
Notice! This is speaking of kingdoms. It is referring to kingdoms that bear rule over the people on earth. It is speaking of governments! It is not speaking of ethereal sentiments “set up in the hearts of men.” It is not speaking of churches. It is speaking of the kind of governments that bear rule and authority over nations of people here on earth. It is literal. It is specific. There is no misunderstanding, here, as to what is meant by the word kingdom.
There is no misunderstanding the interpretation. God gives his own interpretation through the prophet Daniel. The great metallic image represented national and international governments–real, literal kingdoms.
It represented a succession of world-ruling governments. (The Plain Truth, Sept. 1986, p. 13)
Therefore, when we have either a kingdom or a government, we have a “king,” a territory, subjects and laws.
 The priesthood of the Son of God in its operations comprises the kingdom of God, and I know of no form of expression that will better tell what that priesthood is than the language given to me by the Spirit, namely, that it is a pure system of government. (Brigham Young, JD 11:249)
Using these definitions, then, the Kingdom of God is a good government, and by comparison the kingdom of the devil is a bad one. But let’s identify these four areas as they relate to the Kingdom of God:
- The King: the ruler over the Kingdom of God would naturally be God.
- The Subjects: these would be the men appointed by God to serve in his governing body and would also include all the people in that territory or kingdom.
- The Territory: this would extend beyond the earth, throughout the galaxies, both mortal and immortal, on earth and in heaven.
- The Laws: they would be included in the Gospel of the Kingdom with all its principles, commandments, doctrines and ordinances, which would be administered through the power of the Holy Priesthood.
If we omit any one of these items, we do not have a completely operational government nor kingdom. So let’s now expand on the definitions of each of these.
- The King
Throughout history, monarchs have claimed their thrones as some kind of heirship from God. Then with the sceptre of their assumed power, they have ravished cities,  conquered nations, and destroyed empires–all the while testifying that they were true representatives of God. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. And what was even worse, Christian monarchs made war on each other, all in the name of Christ. Capturing and being captured, they lopped off each other’s heads–and they called themselves soldiers and servants of the Prince of Peace?
Because of so many unrighteous counterfeits, we need to re-define and re-evaluate the true nature of our real “King” and His Kingdom, for once we comprehend the nature of this King, we can better understand His Kingdom. Everything else is unapproved, false, and foreign to the rightful King of the earth. Orson Pratt explained:
The kingdom of God is an order of government established by divine authority. It is the only legal government that can exist in any part of the universe. All other governments are illegal and unauthorized. God, having made all beings and worlds, has the supreme right to govern them by his own laws, and by officers of his own appointment. The kingdom of God is a theocracy. (Orson Pratt’s Works, pp. 31-32)
The Kingdom of God is a family type government with God as the Grand Patriarch and King.
The Lord’s government is patriarchal in nature. The family unit is the center. In the pre-existence he was the Father of spirits, and all men are literally brothers and sisters in the spirit. With the placing of man on earth, the Lord began by patterning earthly government after that which is heavenly. A perfect theocratic, patriarchal system was set up with Adam at the head. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 505)
- The Subjects
The “subjects” of any “kingdom” have a duty to understand the character of their “king,” the nature and purpose of that “kingdom,” and the content of the laws established to govern them. Some subjects, both political and religious, have suffered untold miseries because they blindly followed their “king,” who turned out to be an unrighteous and deceiving dictator.
But mortal men and women have a responsible kinship to their Maker; they are the children of an all-wise and loving Father and Mother. Being born into this world, which is a portion of the Father’s kingdom, they are His “subjects” and members of His household. By virtue of their royal birth, they should do their best to honor the order of that house.
When persons become subjects of the kingdom of God, they enter upon a mission that will never end. (Brigham Young, JD 10:17)
- The Territory
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) This is our introduction to the territory over which God presides. The vast realm of the Kingdom of God is not only magnificent for its awesome size, but amazing for its minuteness. Even with the most powerful telescopes we can visualize only a portion of the expanse of His creations. So, too, with the most powerful microscope can we see only a fragment of that realm of His Kingdom. (See D & C 131:7 & 8.)
Since all things were created by God, they all belong to Him. The Apostle Paul commented:
 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him. (Colossians 1:6)
In other words, everything that we see or comprehend is a part of God’s own territory. It includes any portion of earth or space that He has created. Even the devil’s area called hell is included as His territory because it is also part of His creations.
- The Laws
Each person immigrating to the United States is expected to learn its laws and form of government, and likewise those who enter into the Kingdom of God must do the same. In spite of the multitude of strange and unusual children of the Father, He has wisely established laws which are fair to all. This is the difference between the laws of man and the laws of God. The Prophet Joseph presents this clear distinction:
The government of the Almighty has always been very dissimilar to the governments of men, whether we refer to His religious government, or to the government of nations. The government of God has always tended to promote peace, unity, harmony, strength, and happiness; while that of man has been productive of confusion, disorder, weakness, and misery.
The greatest acts of the mighty men have been to depopulate nations and to overthrown kingdoms; and whilst they have exalted themselves and become glorious, it has been at the expense of the lives of the innocent, the blood of the oppressed, the moans of the widow, and the tears of the orphan.
Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Persia, Carthage, Rome –each was raised to dignity amidst the clash of arms and the din of war; and whilst their triumphant  leaders led forth their victorious armies to glory and victory, their ears were saluted with the groans of the dying and the misery and distress of the human family; before them the earth was a paradise, and behind them a desolate wilderness; their kingdoms were founded in carnage and bloodshed, and sustained by oppression, tyranny, and despotism. The designs of God, on the other hand, have been to promote the universal good of the universal world; to establish peace and good will among men; to promote the principles of eternal truth; to bring about a state of things that shall unite man to his fellow man; cause the world to “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,” make the nations of the earth dwell in peace, and to bring about the millennial glory, . . . (TPJS, p. 248)
The purpose of man’s existence is to have joy, but there are laws which must be obeyed in order to achieve the fullness of that joy, or else one must experience the consequences that will cause him to suffer. These laws are just as absolute as the laws of mathematics, chemistry or gravitation. There have been many nations whose laws have brought misery and sorrow to its citizens; conversely, there have been laws which have brought joy and happiness to people. God has revealed good laws and commandments to mankind, but only a relatively small percentage try to obey them.
The laws of God are established by the eternal wisdom of a kind and loving Father whose understanding supersedes any knowledge and abilities of mankind. They are designed to bring joy and prosperity not only in this world but also in the next. The Prophet also explained:
God has in reserve a time, or period appointed in His own bosom, when He will bring all His subjects, who have obeyed His voice and kept His commandments, into His celestial rest. This rest is of such perfection and glory, that man has need of a  preparation before he can, according to the laws of that kingdom, enter it and enjoy its blessings. This being the fact, God has given certain laws to the human family, which, if observed, are sufficient to prepare them to inherit this rest. This, then, we conclude, was the purpose of God in giving His laws to us: . . . (TPJS, p. 54)
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. * * *
But in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness–and the happiness of all His creatures, he never has–He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances. (TPJS, pp. 255-257)
* * *
Thus, if we expect to understand the nature and purpose of the Kingdom of God, we first need to comprehend the major premises upon which it is based:
- God is our King because He has earned that crown; therefore it is His right to rule.
- God is our Father and we are His children; therefore we are subjects in His house.
- God has created the heavens and the earth; therefore those creations are His territorial possessions and dominions.
- God is the Ruler over this territory and its subjects; therefore He has the right to establish rules and laws for the benefit of the subjects in His Kingdom.
This multi-volume study of the Kingdom of God will discuss God’s dealings with man, beginning with a pre-mortal life, continuing through mortality, and concluding with the three kingdoms of glory hereafter.
 Chapter 2
MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. (D & C 76:7)
The Kingdom of God has become one of the mysteries, but the wonderful thing about mysteries is that once we learn about them, they are no longer mysteries.
Throughout the ages, a wide variety of descriptions and definitions of the Kingdom of God have been given, such as it is–
- within the heart of everyone
- the throne of God
- the universe
- the Spirit of Christ
- the Gospel
- the Spirit of Peace
- the millennium
- the good within you
- the British Empire
- the final state of the earth
- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
 Some say that it was in existence only during Christ’s ministry, and others say it has never yet been on the earth.
The shocking truth is that they are all incomplete or inaccurate. A mass of confusion has resulted for those trying to arrive at the correct interpretation of the Kingdom of God. Lutheran minister, Rev. George Peters, wrote:
Indeed no doctrine of the Bible has fared so badly through mere fancy, imagination, enthusiasm, and fanaticism as that of the kingdom. In behalf of a theory or system it has been perverted, distorted, and abused until many persons looking only at the abuses and antagonism, discard the whole matter. Is it not remarkable that a kingdom of God, so distinctively covenanted and predicted, should be so indefinite in its commencement that eminent and pious men are unable to point out its beginning with any degree of absolute certainty? (Theocratic Kingdom. . . , George Peters, 1:44)
The devil made tremendous inroads of apostasy in the Christian Church even while Christ was alive. The interpretations of doctrines, principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Christ began to gradually change, even while the Apostles were still alive, and these included the doctrines of the Kingdom. After nearly 2,000 years of manhandling, it, too, has been completely perverted and lost.
The Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation in which the Lord said:
And to them [those who serve Him in righteousness] will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. * * *
 Even those things which were from the beginning before the world was. . . . (D & C 76:7 & 13)
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were permitted to see in vision that pre-mortal world and things pertaining to that kingdom. Brigham Young said it was the greatest revelation ever given to man, one reason being that it revealed so much pertaining to God’s Kingdom.
People often speak of the Kingdom of God as though it were something quite commonplace and familiar; yet its meaning and interpretation are much more complex than just being one individual church. Who can fully answer where the Kingdom has been or is now? The Christians are praying for it, but are not sure what it is; the Mormons have mixed and varying interpretations of it; and the rest of the world don’t seem to care. It is certainly a very sad and confusing situation!
Modern Christians have established thousands of churches with as many differing theologies, including their varying interpretations of the “Kingdom.” It required new revelation from the heavens at the time of the restoration of the Gospel to inform us of the true meaning of both the Church and the Kingdom. With that new revelation we could then understand why there had been such a mystery surrounding the Kingdom of God.
After relating the parable of the sower, Jesus told His disciples, “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” (Matt. 13:11) This means that those things which pertain to the Kingdom were often mysteries to most people. As mentioned previously, a mystery is simply something that is not known at the time. True Saints, however, knew what the Kingdom of God was, as “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children  forever. . . .” (Deut. 29:29) The Kingdom itself was not introduced as a mystery, but rather some of the things pertaining to it have become mysteries, i.e., the manner by which it is established, how it functions properly, the revelations that direct it, and who should govern it.
It is interesting to note that with all the rebukes and criticisms that were directed at the Jews (such as pride, hypocrisy, wickedness, etc.), they were never condemned for not knowing what the Kingdom of God was. It was one of their basic teachings, and they looked for this Messiah that would be a temporal deliverer, a universal monarch, that would reign over all nations as a King with a Kingdom.
The English Biblical scholar, F.W. Farrar, has written some very respected books which students around the world have considered as the most authoritative works on the lives of Christ and Paul. However, we notice that he seldom mentioned the “Kingdom of God.” In a two-volume, 1200-page work on St. Paul, Farrar listed only three references to the Kingdom of God in his index, one of which states: “Kingdom of God–erroneous ideas of, 1:65.” This reference states only that:
It is indeed based on the enormous error that man can deserve heaven by care in external practices; that he can win by quantitative goodness his entrance into the kingdom of God; that that kingdom is meat and drink, not righteousness and peace and joy in believing.
In other words, he believed that the Kingdom of God was “righteousness and peace and joy,” while many Protestants believed that man was saved by grace (not works or external practices) in that kingdom of peace and joy.
 Another author of many religious and inspiring books was Ellen G. White of the Adventist churches. She, too, believed in the importance of grace in this definition:
Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but the kingdom of God will be incorruptible, enduring forever. Therefore, man in his present state cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (The Great Controversy, p. 369)
And the “kingdom of God” which they had declared to be at hand, was established by the death of Christ. This kingdom was not, as they had been taught to believe, an earthly empire. * * * As used in the Bible, the expression “kingdom of God” is employed to designate both the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory. In many of His parables, Christ uses the expression, “The kingdom of heaven,” to designate the work of divine grace upon the hearts of men.” (Ibid., p. 397)
The definition and the purpose of the Kingdom of God continues to be misunderstood–even more than that of the LDS Church. How strange that those who claim to be leaders of the Church and the Kingdom do not understand what it is. Would you trust a mechanic who did not know what his tools were for? Would you want to fly in a plane piloted by someone who did not understand the control panel? Then why would anyone trust a leader of a church or a government who didn’t understand it? Thus is the mystery of the Kingdom of God today!
 Chapter 3
IN THE BEGINNING
When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel–you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. (J. Smith, TPJS, p. 348)
In studying the Kingdom of God, we need to begin long before 1830 or 1843–which is what most Mormon authors have done. We will go back to the very beginning, as Joseph Smith suggested:
In the first place, I wish to go back to the beginning–to the morn of creation. There is the starting point for us to look to, in order to understand and be fully acquainted with the mind, purposes and decrees of the Great Elohim, who sits in yonder heavens as he did at the creation of this world. It is necessary for us to have an understanding of God himself in the beginning. If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it be a hard matter to get right. (TPJS, p. 343)
If we must go back to the beginning to learn about “the Great Elohim,” then we must go back to the same point to learn about His Kingdom. The first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible states: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) When God did this, He was merely extending the boundaries and dominions of His Kingdom.
 Next, we need to know if anyone else was with Him during this process. The Bible tells us that, “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: . . .” (Gen. 1:26) Apparently, He was not alone at the time man was created. The Prophet Joseph adds a little more information:
The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time. * * *
I should not have introduced this testimony, were it not to back up the word rosh–the head, the Father of the Gods. I should not have brought it up, only to show that I am right.
In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. (TPJS, pp. 348-49)
So how does this presentation of the creation shed light on the Kingdom of God? Applying the definition of Kingdom presented in Chapter 1: The Gods planned to create a world, (a territory) and place a God (a King) over it, then put His children (subjects) on it and give them the gospel (law). Thus, this definition fits perfectly the description of the Kingdom of God as proposed by the Council of the Gods in the beginning.
Now let us discuss in more detail these four parts of the Kingdom of God as they pertain to our earth.
THE KING — God, the Father
Who is the original King that rules over this world? Who is the Father of our spirits? Our Creator is our only true God and thus He would naturally be that great King. But we are told there are “Gods many,” so who is the only true God of  this world? Identifying and honoring this true King should be our first priority.
Nearly all worshippers recognize that this Creator is the true God and the rightful King over the world, but they go about serving and worshipping in thousands of different ways. Nebuchadnezzar had a good understanding:
The king [Nebuchadnezzar] answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets. . . . (Dan. 2:47)
But even though there are many different ways of worshipping many different gods, God commanded, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3) But this commandment has certainly not been very popular among people of the world, for even today there remain gods of wood, and stone, and even money, cars, houses, etc. And many modern Christians worship the strangest god of all: one without form or body, who is invisible and immaterial. If we believe that the true God and King created the world, it is a little difficult to believe he is made out of stone or wood–or nothing!
This brings up another problem. Many Mormons, including some prominent leaders, believe that Jesus Christ is the Creator of this world and many other worlds as well. From three of them come the following:
Bruce R. McConkie:
Christ, acting under the direction of the Father, was and is the Creator of all things. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 157)
Christ is the Father in the sense that he is the Creator, the Maker, the Organizer of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. (Ibid., p. 122)
 Joseph Fielding Smith:
Christ Created Many Worlds. Under the direction of his Father, Jesus Christ created this earth. No doubt others helped him, but it was Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who, under the direction of his Father, came down and organized matter and made this planet, so that it might be inhabited by the children of God.
Jesus Christ is the light and the life of men; he was a Creator before this world was made. * * *
This we know, and that will suffice until all things are revealed, the inhabitants of these worlds created by Jesus Christ, are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (Doc. of Sal., Smith, p. 70)
James E. Talmage:
We claim scriptural authority for the assertion that Jesus Christ was and is God the Creator, the God who revealed Himself to Adam, Enoch, and all the antediluvial patriarchs. . . . * * *
It would appear unnecessary to cite at greater length in substantiating our affirmation that Jesus Christ was God even before He assumed a body of flesh. (Jesus the Christ, Talmage, pp. 32, 38)
If the above information is true, then how can the following three questions be answered: (1) How can an intangible, spirit being create tangible and mortal objects? (2) How can mortals be “begotten sons and daughters” of Jesus Christ, when he is in reality our “Elder Brother?” and (3) How can someone become a God “before He assumed a body of flesh?”
The assumptions of these three Church leaders indicate that Jesus is the God and creator of this world; that He is the God and creator of many other worlds; and that he created all of us mortal children. With this viewpoint, it appears that God the Father is merely a subordinate Being who stands in the wings and watches these events take place. But let’s now compare these ideas with the following four conclusions supported by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the Bible:
- God the Father is the Creator.
- Jesus is our spiritual brother.
- Jesus had to become a mortal in order to become a God.
- Jesus was not exalted until after His resurrection.
- God the Father is the Creator.
Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 190)
In this statement we can easily detect that God the first is the Creator and a different personage from the Redeemer and the Testator.
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 345)
- Jesus is our spiritual brother.
Jesus was born in the spirit world along with all of the other spirits that were designated for this particular earth. That is why He is called the Son of God and our elder brother, and is why He and all of us call God “Our Father in Heaven.”
 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)
And Brigham Young reinforced this concept:
We are the children of our Father–his offspring, of the same family; we belong to him by birthright, and we are his children and Jesus is our brother. Does the Bible tell all this? Just as plain as words can tell anything. (JD 14:280)
- Jesus had to become a mortal in order to become a God.
Jesus had to become a mortal and pass through all the trials, tests, and sufferings in order to fulfill all righteousness; He had to obey all the ordinances, just as everyone else does, in order to become a God.
Surely, then, if it became John and Jesus Christ, the Savior, to fulfill all righteousness to be baptized–so surely, then, it will become every other person that seeks the kingdom of heaven to go and do likewise. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 266)
If a man gets a fullness of the Priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 308)
- Jesus was not exalted until after His resurrection.
Jesus was never a mortal on another earth nor did He become an exalted, resurrected being somewhere else. He  received His resurrection three days after His death on the cross outside Jerusalem, and did not receive all power as an exalted being until after His resurrection. After Christ’s resurrection, Matthew records:
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matt. 28:16-18)
Jesus did not have to come down on every other world that has been created, nor did He come down to this one to redeem any other worlds. He did not receive Godhood until He was resurrected on this earth, and still has not yet received the fullness of His glory. So says Brigham Young:
The Saviour has not finished his work, and cannot receive the fullness of his glory until the influence and power of the wicked are overcome and brought into subjection. When the wicked inhabitants of the earth, the beasts of the field, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, all mineral substances, and all else pertaining to this earth, are overcome, then he will take the kingdom, present it to the Father, and say, “Here is the work you gave me to do–you made the appointment–I have wrought faithfully, and here are my brethren and sisters who have wrought with me. We have wrought faithfully together; we have overcome the flesh, hell, and the Devil. I have overcome, they have followed in my footsteps, and here are all thou hast given me; I have lost none, except the sons of perdition. (Brigham Young, JD 8:118)
* * *
 If we really want to know the identity of the God of this world, we only need to see who He said He was. Three times He identified Himself as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (See Ex. 3:6, 3:15, 3:16.) This makes it easy to worship the true God–merely worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–in the same manner and by obeying the same principles that they did!
THE SUBJECTS — His Children
All the people on this earth are God’s children, and He presides over them as a mortal father governs his children. God does not preside over, rule, or govern anyone else but His own children. In this sense, He is their father, creator, God and King.
We know that (a) Jesus had an existence before He was born on this earth, and that (b) we all had a spiritual existence before we were born. And further we know that (c) all of us are born in the image of God, for Orson Pratt explained:
When we look at our fellow man we behold him erect in the form of God. To be sure there may be many deformities among men and women, produced in many instances, perhaps, by wickedness, disease and by accident; but in the general outline there is resemblance among all the human species, and there should be inasmuch as their Father and God is indeed their Father, as any in this congregation are the literal fathers of their children. We, who compose this congregation, are all one family, and only a very small portion of the family of our Father and God. But when did he beget us? I answer before this world was made; not our flesh and bones, but that being called man that was created in the image and likeness of God and who dwells in his mortal tabernacle. That being is the offspring of God; we were all begotten by him before this world was made. We  then dwelt in his presence and could behold his face as sons and fathers here on earth can behold each other. We then partook, in a measure, of his glory, and were acquainted with the glory and power of his kingdom. (JD 19:314)
Most of the modern Christian world have so far apostatized from the Kingdom and the truths taught by Christ that there is very little similarity. They admit that the Bible says we are made in the image of God, but then they believe that God is an invisible spirit that pervades the universe like the wind. They call him Father and pray to Him as “Our Father in Heaven,” but do not believe we are literally His children. If God has no body, how can He have children who do? Brigham Young confirms:
I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well acquainted with God our heavenly Father, or the great Eloheim. You are all well acquainted with Him, for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in His house and dwelt with Him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with Him, when the fact is, you have merely forgotten what you did know. . . .
There is not a person here today but what is a son or a daughter of that Being. In the spirit world their spirits were first begotten and brought forth, and they lived there with their parents for ages before they came here. This, perhaps, is hard for many to believe, but it is the greatest nonsense in the world not to believe it. If you do not believe it, cease to call Him Father; and when you pray, pray to some other character. (JD 4:216)
When God told Moses, “For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39), He was saying that by having more children and creating more worlds, He was adding dominion and increase to His kingdom. In this respect God increases in power, glory and dominion.
 The first great commandment which God gave unto mankind, as recorded in the scriptures, was to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) The principal object was to people this creation with myriads of intelligent mortal beings, after His own image and likeness, endowed with God-like capacities, and capable of progressing in the grand scale of knowledge and happiness, until they should receive a fullness, and become like God, and be glorified in Him, and He in them, that they might be one in glory, and in power, and in dominion. Herein is God glorified, because there are millions of beings who eventually become like Himself, with whom He can associate, and who are capable of understanding and appreciating all the fullness of His glorious attributes, and of acting with Him in the most perfect harmony in all the magnificent works of Creation. Herein are the dominions of the Almighty enlarged, by the accession of new worlds, peopled with beings in His own form and of His own order. And herein joy, and gladness, and happiness, reign in the bosom of the great Creator, in all their fullness and perfection, because He exercises His infinite goodness in the formation of numberless worlds, peopled with beings upon whom, if obedient, He bestows all the fullness of His own great perfections. (The Seer, Orson Pratt, p. 25)
Just as a man increases the number of his children and expands the size of his real estate, he is adding power and dominion to his own kingdom here. This, in a nutshell, is the great mystery to God and His Kingdom.
THE TERRITORY — The Earth
The territory of the Kingdom of God is not confined to just this earth, nor are we the only people He has created. Fortunately, God spoke to Moses and explained the territory of His Kingdom:
 For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content. And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. (Moses 1:35-38)
God extends His Kingdom by teaching His children how to create a kingdom of their own. As soon as mankind came upon the earth, he was expected to learn how to govern himself and portions of the earth as his own dominion, stewardship, and kingdom.
And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Abraham 4:28)
This was the beginning of man’s jurisdiction, and he was thus given the opportunity to eventually create his own kingdom. But more on this principle later.
THE LAW — The Gospel
To build a kingdom of our own, or even remain with God in His Kingdom, we must “obey the rules of the house”–in other words, we must obey the laws of His Kingdom. Joseph  Smith explains the nature of those laws and why they are given:
The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits. (TPJS, p. 354)
The Lord acknowledged this:
And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. (D & C 88:38)
The reason for the law is made clear as God uses it as a basis for judging His children.
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 they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads forever and ever. (Abraham 3:24-26)
And the grand key to understanding this information was given by Joseph Smith:
 Here, then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. * * *
To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. (TPJS, pp. 346-7)
The law that God has given to His children is the “Gospel,” referred to more appropriately as “The Gospel of the Kingdom.” (See Matt. 4:23)
* * * * *
To summarize this chapter:
- In the beginning God was the Creator of the heavens and the earth, governing it as a King.
- Jesus was born as a spirit in the pre-mortal world and as a mortal in this temporal world, where He obeyed the Gospel laws, commandments and ordinances.
- We, including Jesus, called God our Father in heaven because we are all His children.
- God creates many worlds, thus extending the dominions and bounds of His Kingdom.
- Each world is inhabited with His own children, and He presides over them as their God and King.
- God gives the laws of His Kingdom to His children so that they may grow in knowledge and power to become like Him. Thus the Kingdom of God can continue to increase from eternity to eternity in a patriarchal family kingdom.
 Chapter 4
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance. (D & C 131:6)
No matter when or where we are born, it is by gaining knowledge and understanding that we receive joy, advancement, and growth. Brigham Young explained:
The first great principle that ought to occupy the attention of mankind, that should be understood by the child and the adult, and which is the mainspring of all action, whether people understand it or not, is the principle of improvement. The principle of increase, of exaltation, of adding to that we already possess, is the grand moving principle and cause of the actions of the children of men. No matter what their pursuits are, in what nation they were born, with what people they have been associated, what religion they profess, or what politics they hold, this is the mainspring of the actions of the people, embracing all the powers necessary in performing the duties of life. (JD 2:91)
Without knowledge, intelligence, free agency and choices, we are idiots! Spirits born in the pre-existence were just like little children born in this world–completely helpless, totally dependent on others and without any agency. But as we grew older and began to learn, we could make our own choices and decisions. We selected our schooling, occupations, and friends. We also chose the kind of principles and standards we wanted to live by, and even the kind of kingdom we wanted to  live in. We voted for our government over there just as we vote for it here.
If we were among the morning stars that sang for joy at the creation of this earth, what else did we do? We did not just keep singing for joy until the earth was completed, nor did we just sit around waiting for the dinosaurs to die off so we could have a safe place to live. According to Mosiah Hancock, who had one of the most revealing visions of the pre-mortal life, we were learning:
When thus clothed, they were arranged in classes of about two hundred; the males sitting in front and the females behind them. They were taught in the arts and sciences, and everything necessary to make the heart happy. The teachers of the classes received the instruction they imparted from certain notable ones, who in turn got their directions from the Father and the Son. I thought I was one to overlook the classes; I also saw Joseph, Brigham, and many others engaged in this work of education. I thought as some became more efficient than others they were advanced from class to class. * * *
Again the question would be asked of the males, “If you will not join the church of Christ, what do you wish to be?” He would sometimes say, “I wish to be a judge, or an officer of high rank among the people.” Then he would be asked, “Will you sustain the laws of God and also the rights of all mankind?” and the answer in every instance was, “yes.” I saw there that those who were proficient in their classes were advanced more rapidly until they became most perfect in those heavenly teachings, but some males, even there in Heaven would neglect their females and their classes and not meet with them. They would go off, arm in arm, as men now go, not having any desire for their duties. I never saw a female leave her place in the class assigned her by the Heavenly powers. (Mosiah Hancock Jrnl., Pioneer Press, pp. 71, 72-73)
 Mosiah’s important visionary account gives us a clear understanding of the activities and decisions we were involved in while in that pre-mortal state:
- We attended classes of instruction and received an education, much the same as in school classes here in mortality.
- We were taught in the arts and sciences, and in the principles of righteousness which tend to make “the heart happy.” Some chose not to join the Church of Jesus Christ, but indicated they would honor him.
- The instructions came directly from the Father and the Son, which indicates the lessons pertained to the principles and doctrines of God’s Kingdom.
- Those who learned their lessons well, were able to advance to higher classes.
- Many chose the professions and positions they wanted to have in mortality. When someone excels in music, mathematics, sciences, etc., at a very young age, they probably chose and developed those talents in the Pre-Existence. And some chose not to be educated or schooled at all.
- Some men chose companionship with each other rather than with females, which tendency apparently came with them into mortality.
- According to Mosiah, not one female ever rebelled against God, nor did any female ever leave her place in those schools.
 So, as long ago as in the Pre-Existence we had the opportunity to learn the principles, doctrines, and ordinances of the Kingdom of God.
Study and learning have always been very important in the Kingdom of God, and are mentioned throughout scripture. Even in the latter days, the Lord revealed to His Church:
And from time to time, as shall be manifested by the Comforter, receive revelations to unfold the mysteries of the kingdom;
And set in order the churches, and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.
And this shall be your business and mission in all your lives, to preside in council, and set in order all the affairs of this church and kingdom. (D & C 90:14-16)
And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. (D & C 88:118)
And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms–
That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto  I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you. (D & C 88:77-80)
Brigham Young gave similar counsel:
And inasmuch as the Lord Almighty has designed us to know all that is in the earth, both the good and the evil, and to learn not only what is in the heavens, but what is in hell, you need not expect ever to get through learning. (Contributor 10:281)
In both the pre-mortal and mortal worlds we can chose the kind of learning that is most important to us. If a person signed up for all the available courses at the University of New York, it would take him over 500 years to complete them all. Since we cannot obtain all the knowledge available in this life, we should use wisdom in selecting the kind of learning that is most important to us. Certainly for Latter-day Saints, Gospel principles of exaltation and eternal increase should be at the top of the list.
Furthermore, according to Brigham Young, we should study both good and evil and their consequences. However, it is not necessary to consciously commit evil to learn its consequences. Without even trying, most of us make enough bad decisions and mistakes to give us plenty of experience with and understanding of evil.
And after being taught, it is important that we qualify to teach others. A good teacher is an essential member of society –not just in a formal classroom setting, but in every-day life.
Among the studies given to the children of the Kingdom were those pertaining to the plan of salvation. Such principles, doctrines, laws, commandments, ordinances and covenants were to be followed exactly as originally given, and were to remain the same for everyone in every dispensation. Joseph Smith advised:
 Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles. (TPJS, p. 308)
These principles constituted “the gospel of the kingdom,” whereas all other gospels would be the gospels of men or the devil. The Gospel of the Kingdom was designed to be followed like a blueprint given to a building contractor. The stability of the building depended on strict adherence to that blueprint. Cement must meet specific standards; metal beams must be the right size and strength; and all the materials must be used exactly to specification. As Joseph explained:
. . . the gospel has always been the same; the ordinances to fulfill its requirements, the same; and the officers to officiate, the same; and the signs and fruits resulting from the promises, the same, . . . (TPJS, p. 264)
But in spite of these warnings, man began to revise and change God’s “blueprint” designed for the salvation and exaltation of mankind, and substituted other principles and laws.
It is interesting to see the variety of values and interests people have in gaining a worthwhile education. Some will “pump iron” and spend many hours daily developing their physical muscles, yet spend very little time building up the intellectual muscle of the brain. The motivation for developing our brain is given to us by the Prophet Joseph Smith:
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D & C 129:18-19)
 In mortality, we are placed in positions and situations based on what we did and learned in our pre-mortal life. Likewise, in the next world we will inherit the merits of what we did and learned in this life–hence the importance of learning and preparing ourselves for a better place in the next world.
But we have been instructed that we could not possibly learn everything either in the Pre-Existence nor in mortality, but that our learning, glory, and kingdom could continue to grow and increase throughout the eternities. However, there are some who have a differing view of this continual learning capability, such as Bruce R. McConkie and Joseph Fielding Smith:
There are those who say that God is progressing in knowledge and is learning new truths. This is false utterly, totally, and completely! There is not one sliver of truth in it. * * *
I have been sorely tempted to say at this point that any who so suppose have the intellect of an ant and the understanding of a clod of mirey clay in a primordial swamp. (laughter) But, of course, I would never say a thing like that. (more laughter) * * *
He [God] knows all things, had all power and is everywhere present by the power of His spirit and unless we know and believe this doctrine, we cannot gain faith unto life and salvation. * * *
The perfections of God are named as the perfections which belong to all of the attributes of his nature, which is to say, that God possesses and has all knowledge, all faith or power, all justice, all judgment, all mercy and all truth. He is, indeed, the very embodiment, personification and source of all these attributes. Does anyone suppose that God can be more honest than He already is? Neither need any suppose there are truths He does not know, or knowledge He does not possess. (Bruce R. McConkie, BYU 14 Stake Fireside, June 1, 1980, printed by Pioneer Press)
 Do we believe that God has all “wisdom”? If so, in that, he is absolute. If there is something he does not know, then he is not absolute in “wisdom,” and to think such a thing is absurd. Does he have all “power”? If so, then there is nothing in which he lacks. If he is lacking in “wisdom” and in “power” then he is not supreme and there must be something greater than he is, and this is absurd. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doc. of Sal. 1:5)
I cannot comprehend God in his perfection having to spend time discovering laws and truth he does not know. Such a thought to me is destructive, not progressive. Should there be truth which God has not discovered, when may he discover it, and, like a chemist who mixes certain elements and blows himself up, when will the Almighty find some hidden truth or law which will shatter all? (Ibid., 1:10)
However, both men admit that God’s Kingdom will continue to increase in dominion, size and glory, but wouldn’t that be impossible without gaining greater knowledge and understanding about these kingdoms? Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young explained the nature of this continuous learning process:
I learned a testimony concerning Abraham, and he reasoned concerning the God of heaven. “In order to do that,” said he, “suppose we have two facts: that supposes another fact may exist–two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically show that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist. Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them. (TPJS, p. 373)
It has been stated that God our Father comprehends eternity, from eternity to eternity, all there is, all there was, all there ever can be about eternity, in and  through it. When a person undertakes to establish such a doctrine, what does he do? He gives bounds to that eternity which he at the same time admits to be boundless. Admit such doctrine, and eternity flees away like the shadow of morning; and that is as much as I ever teach about it. (JD 8:17)
All things that have come within the bounds of man’s limited knowledge–the things he naturally understands, teach him that there is no period, in all the eternities, wherein organized existence will become stationary, that it cannot advance in knowledge, wisdom, power and glory. (JD 1:349)
Because of the weakness of human nature, it must crumble to the dust. But in all the revolutions and changes in the existence of men, in the eternal world which they inhabit, and in the knowledge they have obtained as people on the earth, there is no such thing as principle, power, wisdom, knowledge, life, position, or anything that can be imagined, that remains stationary–they must increase or decrease. (JD 1:350; also Contributor 5:22)
So the increase of knowledge and learning should be a continuous process and is an important factor in developing a kingdom. But it can also be a very dangerous thing, as we will see in the next chapter.
 Chapter 5
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (Rev. 12:7-8)
Because of lack of information, there are many questions about the war in heaven in the Pre-Existence. Isaiah gave the following explanation:
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!
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: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? (Isa. 14:12-17)
 To gain a better understanding of the “war in heaven,” we will try to answer these four questions:
- WHO was involved in that war?
- WHAT caused the rebellion?
- WHY did God allow it?
- WHERE did the rebellious go?
Who Was Involved in That War?
We not only have scriptures to tell us about that war, but also the personal testimony of a few who have seen it in vision, such as Mosiah Hancock:
I there heard the question asked: “Who will go down and set an example of humility and faithfulness to these my children, that they may be brought, thru obedience to our laws, back into our presence?”
I thought I saw one in the express image of the Father say, “Father, I will go down and set a pattern of humility and patience that your children, thru my example, may be brought back again.” How noble, I thought, He looked when He offered Himself so patient before the children of our Father.
I saw another, who seemed to be a very high military officer who arose and said: “I will go down to yonder earth and surely I will bring all your children back to you so none of them shall be lost.”
The plan of the first was accepted as being the only sure plan for an exaltation. The plan of the second was rejected with great kindness; but the second was not satisfied; and while the first stood in great humility by the side of the Father, the second with many who stood in with him, went about among the Heavenly hosts to advocate the plan that was put forth as the rights of the second. This one was Lucifer, a son of the morning, for many had been with the Father for countless ages, and learned their lessons well, and he had been no dull scholar. Finally Lucifer openly  rebelled against the Father and the Son, and six other mighty ones who stood faithful with them, and declared, “I will have it my way.” (Mosiah Hancock Journal, pp. 71-72)
Who were these spirits that followed Lucifer? They were also spirit children of our Father in heaven. It seems unimaginable that anyone could find fault with a place like heaven while being in the presence of God and being able to enjoy the many favorable conditions there. Apostle Orson Pratt commented on this:
However wise Satan may have been, in some respects, this plan certainly was a very foolish one. Satan’s sin does not appear to have consisted wholly in the foolishness of the plan which he proposed before the grand council of Heaven, but in his stubbornness or unwillingness to yield to the superior light of the council; having devised the plan, he was determined to carry it into effect: therefore he sought to overthrow the kingdom and to usurp the power thereof in his own hands; hence, he demanded of the Lord, saying, “Give me thine honor,” or as the Lord expresses himself in the above quotation, “Satan rebelled against me, and sought that I should give unto him mine own power.”
However foolish Satan’s plan may appear to us, it must have appeared plausible to many of his brethren: they looked upon a theory which they supposed would redeem them all to be superior to all others. They either had not sufficient intelligence to judge of the consequences of a scheme, destroying the agency of man; or else they preferred to run the risk of the results, rather than come under a plan, founded upon the principles of justice and mercy, which would punish and reward them according to their works. (The Seer, Pratt, p. 53)
So, we have often wondered why so many of the hosts of heaven followed after Lucifer. Undoubtedly he made great promises of a life of ease, luxury, riches and power. It was  probably a great welfare scheme involving little effort, minimal responsibility, and the simple rule of just following their leader–him. He went about in military style with great pomp and show. He spoke like a great politician with many exaggerated promises. His whole program was based on a lie, but it sounded nice. Whether his followers knew it was a wicked plan but liked it anyway, or whether they were blind enough to be seduced into it, we don’t know; but they certainly should have recognized it as an evil scheme.
Brigham Young stated:
There was a devil in heaven, and he strove to possess the birthright of the Savior. He was a liar from the beginning, and loves those who love and make lies, as do his imps and followers here on the earth. (JD 8:279)
Why would someone rebel against his own benefactor? History records more than enough Judases who have betrayed their religious leaders, i.e., soldiers who sell secrets to betray their country, policemen who take bribes from criminals, ministers who perform fake healings, politicians who get rich from lobbyists, businessmen who build cartels, and the list goes on and on.
We can see many mortals here doing the same things, for the same reasons, that Satan did in that pre-mortal world. The third of the hosts who followed him must have had similar desires, and of all the imps who followed Satan, there is not a one of them that has any virtue, morality, integrity or righteousness left in them. There is not a single part of them that is salvageable.
What Caused the Rebellion?
Why would the great “morning star” called Satan, a prince of light, fall into apostasy and become Lucifer, the prince of darkness? Why would anyone who knows first-hand what it was like to be in the presence of God and Christ, turn away from them? Why would someone who knew about truth, righteousness, virtue, and light, choose lies, wickedness, corruption and darkness?
What did Satan hope to gain from such rebellion? No doubt he was seeking for his own kingdom. He had great political aspirations and sought to establish all four elements of a kingdom:
- The King: Satan “sought to take the kingdom of our God and His Christ.” (D & C 76:28) He wanted to be the “King of kings.”
- The Subjects: Satan said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” (Isa. 14:13) He wanted his kingly throne to govern over all the children of God.
- The Territory: Satan announced, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,” (Isa. 14:14) meaning that he wanted all the territory that God possessed, if not more.
- The Law: Satan sought “that I should give unto him mine own power.” (Moses 4:3) He wanted to govern over God’s kingdom.
God already had a kingdom, but Lucifer wanted to steal it for himself.
We know that two great spirits arose from the ranks of God’s spirit children, named Christ and Lucifer. It seems  inconceivable that one of them would cause such a serious rebellion, and Isaiah asked, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer?” (Isa. 14:12) It appears that Lucifer answered that question for him:
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; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. (Isa. 14:13-14)
All five of these declarations were based on pride and ambition, and reveal why he rebelled.
- “I will ascend into heaven.” Without proper experience or good judgment, he was demanding a higher place in the kingdom. He was like an inexperienced employee in a company demanding to rule the whole company.
- “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” It was clear that he wanted a position above anyone else, among all the children of God.
- “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.” He wanted more territory even outside of what God had.
- “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.” This meant to rule over everything around the throne of God. In Psalms it states that “clouds and darkness are round about him [God]; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” (Ps. 97:2)
- “I will be like the Most High.” This final aspiration was to be equal with God and not subject to Him. But Satan had not earned anything like that. He was so evil he  coveted everything that would give him more power and dominion.
His repeated terrible words of “I will” demonstrate how his own “self will” took precedence over God’s will. Thus, it was his selfish, coveting, and arrogant will that led to Lucifer’s fall, as Ezekiel said: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: . . .” (Ezek. 28:17)
As a thief and a villain, Satan’s evil intentions were to steal God’s kingdom without earning it.
The Prophet Joseph gave a parable that could be applied to the war in heaven. In it he explains what caused the rebellion:
Were a king to extend his dominion over the habitable earth, and send forth his laws which were the most perfect kind, and command his subjects one and all to yield obedience to the same, and add as a reward to those who obeyed them, that at a certain period they should be called to attend the marriage of his son, who in due time was to receive the kingdom, and they should be made equal with him in the same; and fix as a penalty for disobedience that every individual guilty of it should be cast out at the marriage feast, and have no part nor portion with his government, what rational mind could for a moment accuse the king with injustice for punishing such rebellious subjects? In the first place his laws were just, easy to be complied with, and perfect: nothing of a tyrannical nature was required of them; but the very construction of the laws was equity and beauty; and when obeyed would produce the happiest condition possible to all who adhered to them, beside the last great benefit of sitting down with a royal robe in the presence of the king at the great, grand marriage supper of his son, and be made equal with him in all the affairs of the kingdom.
 When these royal laws were issued, and promulgated throughout the vast dominion, every subject, when interrogated whether he believed them to be from his sovereign or not, answered, Yes; I know they are, I am acquainted with the signature, for it is as usual. Thus saith the King! This admitted, the subject is bound by every consideration of honor to his country, his king, and his own personal character, to observe in the strictest sense every requisition in the royal edict. Should any escape the search of the ambassadors of the king, and never hear these last laws, giving his subjects such exalted privileges, an excuse might be urged in their behalf, and they escape the censure of the king. But for those who had heard, who had admitted, and who had promised obedience to these just laws no excuse could be urged, and when brought into the presence of the king certainly, justice would require that they should suffer a penalty. Could that king be just in admitting these rebellious individuals into the full enjoyment and privileges with his son, and those who had been obedient to his commandments? Certainly not. Because they disregarded the voice of their lawful king; they had no regard for his virtuous laws, for his dignity, nor for the honor of his name; neither for the honor of their country, nor their private virtue. They regarded not his authority enough to obey him, neither did they regard the immediate advantages and blessings arising from these laws if kept, so destitute were they of virtue and goodness; and above all, they regarded so little the joy and satisfaction of a legal seat in the presence of the king’s only son, and to be made equal with him in all the blessings, honors, comforts, and felicities of his kingdom, that they turned away from a participation in them, and considered that they were beneath their present notice, though they had no doubt as to the real authenticity of the royal edict.
* * *
 How could a government be conducted with harmony if its administrators were possessed with such different dispositions and different principles? Could it prosper? Could it flourish? Would harmony prevail? Would order be established, and could justice be executed in righteousness in all branches of its departments? No! In it were two classes of men as dissimilar as light and darkness, virtue and vice, justice and injustice, truth and falsehood, holiness and sin. (TPJS, pp. 52-53)
Both classes could not continue to exist together. Orson Pratt explained what would happen if God were to save the devil and his imps:
Such a plan, we admit, would thwart the ends of justice, and would admit unholy and sinful beings into the kingdom of God; such beings would be redeemed in all their sins and would still be determined to pursue a sinful course. And such characters would turn a Heaven into a hell, and make themselves miserable, and also all others with whom they were associated. (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 53)
So what makes a man a traitor? Why do they turn against the very principles and offices they have bound themselves to honor and obey? Joseph Smith helps us to understand:
. . . light hath come into the world, and men choose darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. * * * The devil taketh away the word of truth out of their hearts, because there is no desire for righteousness in them. (TPJS, p. 96)
Renegade “Mormon” dissenters are running through the world and spreading various foul and libelous reports against us, thinking thereby to gain the friendship of the world, . . . and after that they hate them worse than they do us, because they find them to be base traitors and sycophants.
 Such characters God hates; we cannot love them. The world hates them, and we sometimes think that the devil ought to be ashamed of them. (TPJS, pp. 126-27)
The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power. (TPJS, p. 181)
. . . if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from Him and drawing towards the devil. (TPJS, p. 216)
I showed them that it was generally in consequence of the brethren disregarding or disobeying counsel that they became dissatisfied and murmured; and many when they arrived here, were dissatisfied with the conduct of some of the Saints, because everything was not done perfectly right, and they get angry, and thus the devil gets advantage over them to destroy them. (TPJS, p. 268)
Thus it is clear that the devil has made mistakes, has committed sin, and loves evil–and yet many have followed after him.
There is only one true plan of salvation–one true Gospel–and any other plan would be wrong. The devil cannot create a new or different gospel plan because any alternative would be opposed to the truth. But since the devil would not change his views, he increased in opposition against God and the plan of salvation. As Moroni stated, “. . . for the devil is an enemy to God, and fighteth against him continually. . . .” (Moroni 7:12) He became the greatest of all apostates. And the Prophet Joseph warned:
From apostates the faithful have received the severest persecutions. Judas was rebuked and immediately betrayed his Lord into the hands of His enemies, because Satan entered into him. * * * When once that light which was in them is taken from them, they become as much darkened as they were previously enlightened, and then, no marvel,  if all their power should be enlisted against the truth, and they, Judas like, seek the destruction of those who were their greatest benefactors. What nearer friend on earth, or in heaven, had Judas than the Savior? And his first object was to destroy Him. * * *
Perhaps our brethren will say the same that caused Satan to seek to overthrow the kingdom of God, because he himself was evil, and God’s kingdom is holy. (TPJS, pp. 67-68)
When Lucifer disagreed with and opposed God’s holy plan of salvation, there was only one other plan left–an unholy one. Basically, there can be only two plans–one right and one wrong. By rejecting God’s plan, he and his followers became as dark as they once were light.
Why Did God Allow It?
Satan caused real chaos in heaven. He caused desertion, wrecked the educational classes, taught false doctrine, and made war. Why did God tolerate it? Why didn’t He nip it in the bud? In the scriptures we read that Jesus had much less tolerance for a little tree:
Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. and presently the fig tree withered away. (Matt. 21:18-19)
At least the poor little tree had some green leaves, but it was cursed anyway. Why then did God spare Satan who didn’t even have so much as a green leaf in his favor?
There were many good reasons why God did not interfere with Lucifer: First, God allowed him his free agency. Second, Lucifer could prove for himself what he wanted to be. And  third, it provided everyone with a choice so each could be what he wanted to be.
The reason war was allowed in heaven is because it provided a choice of the two opposites–even many ramifications in between. It allowed some to be valiant and others to be cowards; to be indifferent or to be traitors, or to just follow along with the crowd. It has been said that no other force can change people, their attitude and even their nation like war–and so it was in that world.
We have been told that there must be “opposition in all things,” and this is true even in the Pre-Existence. If there was good, there must be bad; if there was a righteous kingdom, there must be a wicked kingdom; if there is a God, there must be a devil; and if there is truth, there must be falsehood.
The war in heaven was not fought with bombs and bullets, but rather with principles and ideals. It seems strange that the children of God, dwelling in heaven, under the tutorship of the Father and the Son, could come to such a division. Many speculate that Lucifer, Satan, or the Devil could not have been a child of God–that he must have come from some other parentage or world. But Orson Pratt argued against this idea:
Some, perhaps, may imagine that these angels were beings who had been redeemed from some former world, and afterwards rebelled; but if this were the case, they would not be evil spirits, but would be evil beings, having flesh and bones, and consequently would be unable to enter into the tabernacles of human beings; but as many of them frequently have entered into one person, it shows most clearly that they are spirits. Others, perhaps, may imagine that these fallen angels are the spirits of evil men who have died on some former world, and whose bodies have never  been raised; but this conjecture would not harmonize with the plan, pursued in regard to the wicked of this creation who are all to be raised from the dead and their spirits and bodies to be reunited; neither would it harmonize with the testimony of the Apostle Jude who says, “The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in ever-lasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude, verse 6) This passage proves that fallen angels are those who were on trial in their first estate. Angels do not receive fleshly bodies until they enter their second estate, consequently those in the first estate must be spirits. That these angels were spirits, pertaining to this creation, and not to a former one, is shown from the fact that they are reserved “in chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” If they had lived in a first estate, preceding the one where our spirits were on trial, then they should have been judged on a previous world, but their judgment day has not yet come, but will come at the end of the earth, or at the time when the wicked of this world are judged. If, then, they are to receive a judgment in connection with the inhabitants of this earth, they must have formed a portion of the same family in the first estate, and did not have an origin anterior to the family, designed for this earth. (The Seer, p. 50)
Out of this chaos the devil was building his own kingdom; but it was a kingdom of destruction rather than construction. His whole object was then–and still is–to destroy the Kingdom of God. In the process, both evil and righteous principles were presented to the spirit children of God, but a battle of principles determines the real character of an individual: good or bad, heroes or traitors, Gods or devils. Regarding war, General George S. Patton explained:
Battle is not a terrifying ordeal to be endured. It is a magnificent experience wherein all of the elements that have made man superior to the beasts are present. Courage, self-sacrifice, loyalty, help to others, and devotion to duty.
 As you go in (to battle), you will perhaps be a little short of breath, and your knees may tremble. This breathlessness, this tremor, they are not fear. It is simply the excitement which every athlete feels just before the whistle blows. No, you will not fear, for you will be borne up and exalted by the proud instinct of our conquering race. You will be inspired. . . .
The prize of war is the greatest of all prizes–freedom. (The Unknown Patton, author? p. 170)
We do not engage in war just because there is one, nor do we fight a battle just because we want to. If there is a battle or a war to be fought, the first thing to do is to find out which side is in the right and prepare ourselves for it. But in this holy war with Satan, we make a different defense than in mortal wars. Paul explained this kind of battle:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
When the righteous have opposition or persecution, they rise up to meet the challenge and arm themselves with an even stronger defense. According to Brigham Young:
 Let us alone, and we will send Elders to the uttermost parts of the earth, and gather out Israel, wherever they are; and if you persecute us, we will do it the quicker, because we are naturally dull when let alone, and are disposed to take a little sleep, a little slumber, and a little rest. If you let us alone, we will do it a little more leisurely; but if you persecute us, we will sit up nights to preach the Gospel. (JD 1:320)
Christ and the devil are engaged in the same war but are governed by different laws. Christ did not choose the war, but He leads the righteous into it. But sometimes evil events result in good blessings. Victory in a righteous battle can have its rewards, and the war against evil can result in great blessings.
This principle was understood 2500 years ago and expressed in a book called The Bhagavadgita or The Way to Purity. The anonymous author wrote about those who suffered in life and prayed to know what to do. The Deity spoke to him saying:
There is nothing better for a man than a righteous battle. Happy are those who can find such a battle to fight–come of itself–an open door to heaven! But if you will not fight this righteous battle, then you will have abandoned your own duty and you will incur sin. Therefore, arise, my son, and engage in battle. (The Bhagavadgita, p. 3)
Sometimes war requires the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus required this of His disciples:
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an  ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:31-33)
Both God and the devil seek out those who are the most valiant because they both need strong leaders. The Lord talks about the test that may be required:
And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal. Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant, ye are not worthy of me. (D & C 98:13-15)
As the battle raged on, the spirits began to take sides. If you were sitting down and enjoying yourself in a park and suddenly it begins to rain, you must make a decision what to do: pull up an umbrella, get to some shelter–or just sit there getting wet. Not doing anything would seem to be rather stupid, but there were some in the Pre-existence who did just that. According to Apostle Orson Hyde:
At the time the devil was cast out of heaven, there were some spirits that did not know who had authority, whether God or the devil. They consequently did not take a very active part on either side, but rather thought the devil had been abused, and considered he had rather the best claim to government. These spirits were not considered bad enough to be cast down to hell, and never have bodies; neither were they considered worthy of an honorable body on this earth. (from a speech delivered to the High Priests Quorum in Nauvoo, Sept. 1844, as quoted in Orson Hyde, J. S. Hyde, p. 56)
 All the spirits in heaven were placed into situations that would make them think, to form judgments, and to make decisions that would develop their character. Some would be valiant, some would be traitors, and some would remain undecided.
This is why God did not intervene or destroy the devil at this point. God wanted all his spirit children to have the opportunity to make decisions for themselves–to choose the principles they wanted to obey. It was here they became partners, couples, races and nations. The whole plan couldn’t have worked out better had God designed it that way. Or did He?
The Prophet Joseph Smith leaves us with this thought:
Who but those who have duly considered the condescension of the Father of our spirits, in providing a sacrifice for His creatures, a plan of redemption, a power of atonement, a scheme of salvation, having as its great objects, the bringing of men back into the presence of the King of heaven, crowning them in the celestial glory, and making them heirs with the Son to that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away–who but such can realize the importance of a perfect walk before all men, and a diligence in calling upon all men to partake of these blessings? How indescribably glorious are these things to mankind! Of a truth they may be considered tidings of great joy to all people; and tidings, too, that ought to fill the earth and cheer the heart of every one when sounded in his ears. The reflection that everyone is to receive according to his own diligence and perseverance while in the vineyard, ought to inspire everyone who is called to be a minister of these glad tidings, to so improve his talent that he may gain other talents, that when the Master sits down to take an account of the conduct of His servants, it may be said, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over  a few things; I will now make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. (TPJS, p. 48)
Where Did the Rebellious Go?
Our pre-mortal existence in heaven apparently had a greater impact on each of us than does mortality–for three reasons:
- We lived there for a much longer time. In our dispensation, we live for a few days or up to about 100 years. But in that world we lived for many thousands and even millions of years.
- We developed our character there. When we are born into mortality, our character, disposition, and talents have already been determined. Prophets, military and political leaders, teachers and inventors, etc., were pre-selected for the time and place of their birth into mortality.
- Two great leaders established two great kingdoms in the Pre-Existence. Christ and Lucifer organized all the spirit children of God into those two kingdoms based on our choices there.
During this character molding and polishing process, some qualified to be prophets, kings, and even heads of dispensations. On the other hand, many grew mean and miserable. They became rebellious, filled with hate, and sought to destroy all that belonged to God. Thus we see a great gulf being created among the spirits even before arriving in mortality. This gulf between the followers of Christ and Lucifer kept getting wider and wider until it led to open rebellion and war. The two leaders in this war did not lack knowledge; so if they both possessed such great knowledge, why did they grow  so far apart? It appears that just learning does not qualify a man to be good or bad–it is wisdom and understanding in applying their learning. Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments. . . .” (Ps. 111:10)
We also know that the devil is miserable and the righteous are happy. Solomon reasoned:
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. * * * The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. (Prov. 3:13 & 19)
The devil is intent on destruction, while God’s plan is just the opposite:
I [Brigham Young] frequently think of the difference between the power of God and the power of the Devil. To illustrate, here is a structure in which we can be seated comfortably, protected from the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Now, it required labor, mechanical skill and ingenuity and faithfulness and diligence to erect this building, but any poor, miserable fool or devil can set fire to it and destroy it. That is just what the Devil can do, but he never can build anything. The difference between God and the Devil is that God creates and organizes, while the whole study of the Devil is to destroy. Every one that follows the evil inclinations of his own natural evil heart is going to destruction, and sooner or later he will be no more. (Brigham Young, JD 13:4)
To make war against someone and become an enemy is one thing, but to turn traitor and rebel against your own government and people is quite another. An outstanding general can be respected by both sides in war; but a traitor is not respected by either side. The Prophet Joseph said:
 God never will acknowledge any traitors or apostates. Any man who will betray the Catholics will betray you; and if he will betray me, he will betray you. (TPJS, p. 375)
There is a difference between a war and a rebellion: a war is “a state or period of armed hostile conflict between states or nations;” while rebellion is “opposition to one in authority; open defiance of or resistance to an established government.” (Webster’s New Enc. Dictionary, pp. 846 & 1173) A war is usually an attack from outside forces, while a rebellion comes from within.
Satan did not make an attack of war, but he broke out in open rebellion against the government and officers that had given him life, home, and companions. The story of his rebellion and the degree of his success is almost unbelievable. His objectives were:
- To attack, overthrow, and destroy the Kingdom of God.
- To infiltrate, change, or sabotage every principle and ordinance of the Gospel of Christ.
- To overcome every person by temptation, seduction, and destruction.
- To steal every title or piece of property from those following Christ.
- To diminish the power and effectiveness of God and Christ by creating wickedness among their followers.
- To take away free agency and individual rights.
- To use force upon everyone that did not support or sustain his kingdom.
The attitude and objectives of the devil were similar to that of any other tyrant or dictator: power, wealth, and control.
 When Lucifer proposed to save the world from its sins and take away agency, his plan was rejected because it was in opposition to the principles of God’s Kingdom. Four major things happened to Lucifer that led to his downfall:
- When his program was rejected, he became very upset, causing him to lose his temper as well as the spirit of the Lord.
- When the plan of Christ was accepted, Lucifer became extremely jealous.
- His violent temper and raging jealously caused intense hatred.
- He devised a plan to destroy Christ. He created a military force of fighting men to rebel against Christ and His followers and to destroy the Kingdom of God.
We see these same evil characteristics of temper, jealousy, hatred, and destruction among mortals. For example, if some children can’t have a particular toy that is being used by another child, they get resentful, jealous, angry, and destructive. When one child bops another one over the head with a toy, he is passing through these four phases of rebellion.
These same four principles are also exemplified among adults on a more serious level. When they succumb to temptation and sin, they lose the spirit of the Lord. They then lose common sense, become angry, jealous, hateful, and sometimes destructive. It happened to the Nephites, as Mormon explained to his son, Moroni:
And now behold, my son, I fear lest the Lamanites shall destroy this people; for they do not repent,  and Satan stirreth them up continually to anger one with another.
Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them.
For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually. (Moroni 9:3-5)
The war in heaven was a somewhat typical war with winners and losers. It was so intense that one-third of them became so wicked and evil that they became sons of perdition–a condition in which there was no salvation for them.
There were at least thousands of years that Satan and his followers were in the presence of God. They gained a complete knowledge of God and the gospel, but yet they rebelled. They denied it all and became enemies, and thus they will have to suffer as sons of perdition. The Prophet Joseph explained about this category of sinners:
He (who has committed the unpardonable sin) must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. (TPJS, p. 358)
They had a perfect knowledge of God, His laws, and His Kingdom, and yet they denied and rejected it all. It was as though they looked at the sun and said it did not shine.
 When these evil spirits were condemned and expelled from heaven, they were like garbage that cannot be brought back to the table. They are spirits that have no bodies and never will have. So where did God send them? We would have preferred that they were dumped into some kind of space freight train and shipped to some dark planet far off in space. But not so. They were allowed to come to earth, too! We thought we were rid of him and all his naughty boys, but he was already down on earth to greet us when we came. It would appear that he grew stronger instead of weaker, because he would eventually enlist many more followers that he apparently “missed” in the pre-mortal life.
These evil spirits are invisible, except for rare occasions when someone is permitted to see them. Such an experience was witnessed by Heber C. Kimball and a few others. While on a mission in England, Elder Kimball saw these fallen spirits and gave us the following description:
I then arose and sat up on the bed, when a vision was opened to our minds, and we could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us. We gazed upon them about an hour and a half (by Willard’s watch). We were not looking towards the window, but towards the wall. Space appeared before us, and we saw the devils coming in legions, with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us. They came towards us like armies rushing to battle. They appeared to be men of full stature, possessing every form and feature of men in the flesh, who were angry and desperate; and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye; and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, my clothes becoming as wet as if I had been taken out of the river. I felt excessive pain, and was in the greatest distress for some time. I cannot even look  back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet by it I learned the power of the adversary, his enmity against the servants of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world. We distinctly heard those spirits talk and express their wrath and hellish designs against us. However, the Lord delivered us from them, and blessed us exceedingly that day. (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Orson F. Whitney, pp. 130-31)
And these evil spirits were not limited to England. Heber Jarvis gives an account of a speech made by Brigham Young:
Upon one occasion President Brigham Young was in the Tabernacle at St. George and was speaking on the spirit world. He stated that it was not far from us and if the veil could be taken from our eyes there wouldn’t be either a man, woman or child who would dare go out of “this tabernacle as the spirits of the Gadianton robbers were so thick out there. This is where they lived in these mountains,” said he. (Temples of the Most High, 7th ed., enlarged, 1949, Lundwall, p. 89)
Heber C. Kimball confirmed this:
The atmosphere of many parts of these mountains is doubtless the abode of the spirits of Gadianton robbers, whose spirits are as wicked as hell, and who would kill Jesus Christ and every Apostle and righteous person that ever lived if they had the power. It is by the influence of such wicked spirits that men and women are all the time tempted to tell little lies, to steal a little, to take advantage of their neighbor a little, and they tell us there is no harm in it. It is by the influence and power of evil spirits that the minds of men are prejudiced against each other, until they are led to do each other an injury, and sometimes to kill each other. (JD 11:84-85)
 And what happens when this evil influence overcomes an individual? Joseph Smith warned:
The Messiah’s kingdom on earth is of that kind of government, that there have always been numerous apostates, for the reason that it admits of no sins unrepented of without excluding the individual from its fellowship. * * *
When once that light which was in them is taken from them, they become as much darkened as they were previously enlightened. . . . (TPJS, pp. 66-67)
No one is happy under these conditions. Even the devil is unhappy and miserable, and he tries to make others share in his misery; “for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Nephi 2:27) Can you imagine living in that kind of kingdom where everyone is trying to make others miserable?
 Chapter 6
The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. (Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, pp. 22 & 182)
What was the war in heaven all about? It wasn’t about smoking nor drinking; nor which day was the true Sabbath; nor the kind of job or salary we would like. The dispute was not over where we would live, nor who our friends would be. The battle was over freedom and free agency–the same thing over which nearly all wars are fought.
Wars usually begin with someone wanting to rule over someone else. That means one person must give up certain rights, privileges, and freedoms to the other. This may be necessary during employment, as we usually don’t have a choice about hours, salary, location, conditions, etc. But we do have the freedom to change jobs, or be self-employed–or even unemployed.
Throughout the world we have seen men rise in power, such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Tojo, and Mao Tse Tung, who have enforced their evil powers on their own nation and others, as well. These men created rebellion, war and dictator-ships after the manner of Lucifer.
 Those who are motivated by the desire to rule over others, primarily do so because of personal vanity. They believe they have superior intelligence and that others are incapable of adequately governing themselves. Men in governments often think they know what’s best for the people and try to force everyone into a certain mold–virtually a slave system.
Temporal slavery and spiritual slavery are very similar, as in both instances the leaders require total submission from their subjects. Lucifer wanted to guarantee spiritual salvation for all his subjects, but this could be achieved only by submission to him and his totalitarian system. Today we have the New World Order supporters who also are promoting a totalitarian temporal salvation for the people. This concept of a New World Order is really not new, but was devised by Lucifer even before the world was inhabited.
The difference between these two plans was a matter of individual free agency.
And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying–Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me–Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down. (Moses 4:1-3)
 Satan’s plan was to have everyone ruled by a leader similar to the childhood game of “Follow the Leader.” The leader would rule by law and force, if necessary, and would have total control. People would trust him implicitly and would give him power over their salvation. Those who followed him would be saved–the only requirement being to relinquish their free agency.
But without free agency, a man would be of no more worth than a piece of machinery. You don’t punish or reward machinery, nor do you reward or punish someone who is forced to act like a robot. Joseph Fielding Smith explained the importance of free agency:
Agency Essential to Salvation. The Lord has given to man his agency. That is a divine principle–it is inherent, born with us. We have it because the Lord gave it to us in the spirit world. It is the only principle upon which exaltation can come. It is the only principle upon which rewards can be given in righteousness. Satan’s plan in the beginning was to compel. He said he would save all men and not one soul should be lost. He would do it if the Father would give him the honor and the glory. But who wants salvation when it comes through compulsion, if we have not the power within ourselves to choose and to act according to the dictates of conscience? What would salvation mean to you if you were compelled? And so, that great gift of agency has been given to us. By it we may climb to the heights, we may enter the kingdom of God to sit on the throne and be exalted as sons and daughters of God, but we must be obedient. (Doc. of Sal., J. F. Smith, p. 70)
The devil knew that if he presented the reality of his program, it would sound terrible. If people knew how miserable they would be without freedom, no one would join. So the devil had to camouflage and lie about his “plan of salvation.” According to Orson Pratt:
 If Satan had been permitted to carry out his plan it would either have destroyed the agency of man, so that he could not commit sin; or it would have redeemed him in his sins and wickedness without any repentance or reformation of life. If the agency of man were destroyed, he would only act as he is acted upon, and consequently he would merely be a machine; and his actions would have neither merit or demerit, so far as he was concerned, and could neither be punished nor rewarded, and would produce neither misery nor joy. Destroy the agency of man, and you destroy the mainspring of his happiness. (The Seer, p. 52)
One of the main differences between those who seek to do evil and those who choose to be righteous is their idea of what brings true happiness. For example, the criminal thinks he will be happy by stealing worldly things from others; the righteous think they will be happy by honest work and serving others.
Alma explained that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10), but sometimes it takes several bad experiences for people to learn such a simple lesson.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; . . . (2 Nephi 2:27)
The devil made hell sound like heaven and he made heaven sound like hell. The devil’s proposition for a perfect society was probably described in the same way that Paul Harvey described a little paradise island. He said in effect: Have you ever been so tired of your hustling, rushing, hectic society that you just wanted to get away to some little island where you didn’t have to worry about all the daily problems? On that  little island there would be no need to worry about obtaining food or clothing or housing. There were no unions, salesmen, telephones or business problems to keep you awake at night. It would be a little island where you didn’t have to work, struggle with bills, taxes, nor business competition. There were no worries about paying for utilities, insurance, doctors, dentists, nor car repairs. Doesn’t it sound like paradise? He went on to say that there was just such an island–it was called Alcatraz! It had a wonderful security system, and everything was taken care of for you. The only cost for living there was one’s liberty!
Free agency was the most important gift from God to His children. No one was to be denied that right–in their pre-mortal life or here on earth. Even the devil and all his hosts enjoy those same rights. Wilford Woodruff stated:
The Lord has never yet taken from Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, his agency. He still holds it and will hold it until he is bound with the keys of death and hell. (Disc. of Wilford Woodruff, p. 217)
So if the war in heaven was fought over the principle of free agency, how greatly we should value that gift here, and not just willingly relinquish it to some other mortal, as Satan promoted in his plan in the Pre-Existence.
 Chapter 7
TWO KINGS AND TWO KINGDOMS
In relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God. (TPJS, p. 365)
During millions of years two different systems for salvation polarized–similar to the earth’s North and South Pole. The difference was as drastic as night and day, so eventually they were bound to clash.
Nephi tells about those in the kingdom of the devil:
. . . all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet. (1 Nephi 22:23)
So in reality there are two kingdoms to study.
* Both began in the pre-mortal life.
* Both were advocated by master spirits.
* Both were kingdoms that would continue throughout our mortal world.
* Both would continually seek for converts.
* Both would be constantly at war with each other.
 An angel told Nephi some important facts concerning these two opposing forces:
And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose foundation is the devil.
And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. (1 Nephi 14:9-11)
The devil’s power extends so far as to have “dominion over all the earth, among all nations, . . .” which means that he has a church and a kingdom. The angel is saying that if a person is not under the dominion, influence and power of Jesus Christ (Lamb of God), then he automatically places himself under the dominion and influence of the other kingdom. At baptism we take upon us the name of Christ, thus declaring our intent to be a part of His Kingdom.
One church and one kingdom moves towards the light and the other two move into darkness. It is a two-party system, as Brigham Young explained:
There are but two parties on the earth, one for God and the other for the world or the evil one. No matter how many names the Christian or heathen world bear, or how many sects and creeds may exist, there are but two parties, one for heaven and God, and the other will go to some other kingdom than the celestial kingdom of God. (JD 14:73)
 And like our existing two-party system, each one condemns the other, each one claims their system is the best, and each tries to capture the vote and support of the most people. Furthermore, if we were able to see all the creations of the universe, we would still see only a two-party system: one being led by a devil to tempt and torment, and the other being led by a Christ to save and redeem.
Satan claimed that with his plan he could “redeem all mankind, that not one soul should be lost,” but this required strict regimentation of all the thoughts and actions of the people. Thus, they would lose their freedom and become slaves. Such a plan would have the following results:
- There would be no reason for man to repent.
- He would act only when he is acted upon.
- He would live like a robot under total control.
- He could neither be punished nor rewarded.
- It would thwart the principle of justice.
- It would admit unholy and sinful beings into heaven.
- It would thus turn heaven into a hell.
- It would take away the need for intelligence.
- Man would not know joy nor misery.
- He would not know good nor evil.
- Such a man could never receive exaltation as a God because he would be nothing but an ignorant slave.
According to Orson Pratt, a “man redeemed in this plan, would be a perfect idiot, without the least glimmering of intelligence.” Many spirits were unsettled and undecided as to which program to join, but those who “altogether turned from the Lord, and were determined to maintain the cause of Satan, and who proceeded to the utmost extremities of wickedness, placed themselves without the reach of redemption.” (The Seer, p. 53)
 Some people may have a tendency to feel sorry for these fallen spirits and hope that someday they might be redeemed. Not so. They are opposed to everything that is good and do everything they can for evil. They love darkness more than light. They hate Christ and His doctrines; they hate all mankind and try to destroy them; and they probably hate each other. They are the adopted sons of old Perdition himself, and they even act like him and believe like him.
These fallen spirits are in the hell they deserve. They are subjects in His kingdom and faithfully serve the king they selected, and they continually fight against the Kingdom of God.
In his kingdom the devil has duplicated the offices and officers of Christ. He has kings, prophets, apostles, mission-aries, and priests. He also has a congress, senate, cabinet members, and even his army of soldiers. He has duplicated the Kingdom of God and even uses a “plan of salvation” to gain a following. This is well stated by Dr. Hugh Nibley:
From the first, according to the apocalyptic concept of history, men have chosen the darkness rather than the light. This teaching receives great emphasis in the Book of Mormon, where a constantly recurring event is the apostasy of God’s church from the way of righteousness. Such general apostasies are described in Alma 62:44-46; Helaman 4:11-12, 21, 23; 3 Nephi 7:7; 4 Nephi 1:27-31, 38-46. Behind this is the general weakness of the human race and “the nothingness of the children of men” (Helaman 12:4-7), which make this world inevitably the kingdom of darkness and the dominion of Satan, “which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men” (Alma 28:13). For the devil has his plan, which opposes God’s plan for the human race–“that cunning plan of the evil one!” (2 Nephi 9:28). Just so, in the Dead Sea Scrolls the  wicked, who are perfectly free to do as they choose, reject God’s plan, preferring one of their own, for as might be expected, the devil counters God’s plan with a parallel plan. (Approach to the Book of Mormon, Nibley, p. 204)
Although the two plans may have similarities in their names, organizations and goals, the differences are in their methods, principles, and ordinances, as well as in the works and examples of their members.
THE TWO SYSTEMS
Light and Darkness
Kingdom of God Kingdom of Satan
A Church A Church
Kings and Priests Kings and Priests
 Chapter 8
Christ and Belial cannot be made friends; the devil is at war with the Kingdom of God on the earth, and always has been, and will continue to be, until he is bound. (Brigham Young, JD 2:319)
In these two kingdoms the two representatives are defending their kingdom as the only true one, and their church as the only true church–so how can you tell which is the genuine article?
The devil puts on a facade; he represents himself as something he is not. He lies over who he is, what he does, and what his principles are. He is such a master of misrepresentation that he can surpass the greatest of all magicians. And he has “dominion over all the earth, among all nations.”
With two kinds of leaders we have two kinds of leadership. One king uses his “authority” to require strict obedience to everything he says. Like a military leader, he dominates by supreme rule over all his subordinants. The other representative has reversed the order of command. He said: “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant;” (Matt. 20:26-27) and also, “whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
 One leader demands that people serve him; the other asks his followers to serve others. One leader gets his authority any way he can; the other earns it from respect. One system is by representation; the other is by misrepresentation.
What’s in a Name?
The names given to the devil and Christ reflect the vast difference in their person and character. This was an ancient belief among the Israelite people.
Names are not mere human designations or constructs. Rather they are revelatory instruments, appearing at nodal points in the career of the Israelitish people. With them a person’s name was not a mere designation of familial relationship–not a mere possession–but something distinctly personal. In Semite culture, names were frequently used to designate a characteristic of the person named. (Zondervan’s Enc. of the Bible 2:760)
Consider some of the names for the devil:
Beelzebub Lord of dung heaps
Prince of demons Satan
The Adversary Perdition
Man of lawlessness Angel of the Bottomless Pit
Common Enemy Dragon
Master Mahan Prince of Power of the Air
Prince of this World Serpent
On the other hand, some names given to Christ are–
Advocate Author of Salvation
Bread of Life Counselor
Deliverer Good Shepherd
Lamb of God Son of God
Light of the World Redeemer
Prince of Peace Savior
King of Kings
In some degree, these names also fall upon their respective followers.
Nearly everything in the gospel plan is designated in some way to represent something else, i.e., rituals, ordinances, marks, emblems, signs, figures, offices, and titles.
Let’s go back to the beginning. One of the first things Adam did was to offer sacrifice of a lamb to represent the sacrifice of the Messiah who was to come. A lamb was one of the most innocent animals; thus its blood could be used as symbolic of Christ’s atonement. The whiteness of its wool represented purity.
Baptism was introduced symbolizing death and rebirth–a newness of life, cleansing of sin, the resurrection, entrance into the Church, entrance into God’s Kingdom, etc. Even their “garment” had symbolic meaning.
Moses gave the Israelites a multitude of rituals because they were so weak in their faith and had to be continually reminded of who they were, what they were to do, and why they had been delivered from slavery. The blood on the door posts that saved them temporarily from the destroying angel represented the blood of Christ that would save them  spiritually. The snake on the post that cured them from the poisonous snakes represented Christ who could save them and provide everlasting life.
David established a kingdom, symbolic of God’s kingdom, and was made king to represent Christ, the great King of Kings.
Other representations were more negative, but were turned around for a positive purpose. For instance, the uses of the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem, called Hinnom:
The valley of Hinnom was the scene of some of the most horrifying and abominable practices ever to defile Israel. It was here that Solomon built places for the worship of Molech; it was here that infant sacrifices were sponsored by those wicked kings, Ahaz and Manasseh; it was here that Josiah spread human bones and other corruptions; it was here (in Jesus’ day) that garbage, dead animals, and human corpses were burned. This valley was both the cesspool of Jerusalem and the place where continuing fires burned the refuse of the city, giving rise to the use of the term Ge Hinnom or Gehenna, or land of Hinnom, as the symbol for the eternal fires of hell. (The Mortal Messiah, Bruce R. McConkie, 1:97)
Solomon’s temple contained many symbols–items that were representative of something else:
But it was in the Holy of Holies that the most perfect symbolism was found. There was placed the ark of the covenant, a chest of acacia wood in which rested the stone tablets on which were written the Ten Commandments. The presence of these sacred stones, the commandments having been written by the finger of God, was a constant reminder to Israel of their covenant to worship and serve him who had delivered them from bondage, and that they should have no God  before him. On top of the ark rested the mercy seat, a cover of pure gold, symbolizing to the mind that because of the atonement yet to be wrought, repentant souls would find mercy before the eternal throne. The mercy seat, serving as it were as the throne of God, was a symbol of his forgiveness and of his goodness and grace in providing mercy through his atonement. (Ibid., 1:101-02)
The organization of Christ’s Church was founded on many representations. Twelve apostles represented the twelve tribes of Israel; the Seventy represented the seventy elders of Israel who saw God; the high priest represented Christ, who was the great High Priest interceding for all men, etc.
The temple was of great significance to the house of Israel, just as it was to God. In this great edifice the heavenly and earthly met; God was represented and He could meet with His people. Because of the apostasy of the early Christians, the knowledge, meaning and commandment to build temples were lost. However, with the restoration of the gospel, that important instruction was brought back with all its meaning and power.
The Biblical scholar Edersheim described the importance of the Jerusalem temple and its symbolism:
That temple was the only place where a God-appointed, pure priesthood could offer acceptable sacrifices, whether for forgiveness of sin, or for fellowship with God. Here, in the impenetrable gloom of the innermost sanctuary, which the High Priest alone might enter once a year for most solemn expiation, had stood the Ark, the leader of the people into the Land of Promise, and the footstool on which the Shechinah had rested. From that golden altar rose the sweet cloud of incense, symbol of Israel’s accepted prayers; that seven-branched candlestick shed its perpetual light,  indicative of the brightness of God’s Covenant Presence; on that table, as it were before the face of Jehovah, was laid, week by week, `the Bread of the Face,’ a constant sacrificial meal which Israel offered unto God, and wherewith God in turn fed His chosen priesthood. On the great blood-sprinkled altar of sacrifice smoke the daily and festive burnt-offerings, brought by all Israel, and for all Israel, wherever scattered; while the vast courts of the Temple were thronged not only by native Palestinians, but literally by `Jews out of every nation under heaven.’ Around this Temple gathered the sacred memories of the past; to it clung the yet brighter hopes of the future. The history of Israel and all their prospects were inter-twined with their religion; so that it may be said that without their religion they had no history, and without their history no religion. Thus, history, patriotism, religion, and hope alike pointed to Jerusalem and the Temple as the centre of Israel’s unity. (The Temple, Alfred Edersheim 1:3-4)
(Jerusalem Temple picture)
The temple represents God’s spiritual kingdom on earth.
 There is a very interesting statement in the Mosiah Hancock vision that mentions a particular star as a symbol used for identification purposes:
We who were faithful to the Father and the Son, had a white star upon us, and the others chose a red star; about one-third of the males and females would not accept of either star, but withdrew from the conflict. (Mosiah Hancock Jrnl., p. 72)
At this point it should be noted that the symbol used by the United States is a white star. It is posted on all American aircraft, tanks and other military forces. It is significant that Russia and China use a red star on their military equipment.
(2 pictures, The American P-51 Mustang and The Russian Lagg-3 Lavochkin, with their stars)
 These graphic illustrations signify a power, a nation, or a cause. They are symbols much like names. We recall how Moroni, chief commander of the Nephite armies, took a piece of his coat “and wrote upon it–In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children–and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.” (Alma 46:12)
There has been considerable attention paid to Laban and his sword. He was a wicked man and died by his own sword. His only notoriety was achieved for the things he did wrong, but strangely his sword has been held in the highest regard. We don’t know where it came from, who owned it, or why it was considered so valuable. Nephi described the sword thusly:
And I beheld his [Laban’s] sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel. (1 Nephi 4:9)
Brigham Young also talked about this sword:
When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the  gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.” (JD 19:38)
Dr. Hugh Nibley explains the meaning of some of the old Nephite relics:
. . . these plates were closely associated with the Liahona, which led our fathers through the wilderness, (1 Nephi 3:3). And together with the sword of Laban comprised the national treasure and symbolized the survival and preservation of the people in their wanderings and their journey through life. (Approach to the B. of M., Nibley, p. 25)
There are many marks and symbols that carry special meaning, even signifying authority. Stripes, medals, and bars on military uniforms signify position, authority or special merit. Even a salute and a handshake have particular meanings. In the wedding ceremonies of the Romans and English-speaking nations, rings have special significance. The color of the bride’s dress is symbolic. Christ’s robe was purple which signified royalty.
Flags from every nation have individual symbols and meanings represented in colors and shapes. Even pirates have the “jolly Roger” with black background and white skull and crossbones–very significant to them.
The first American flag was designed with definite symbolic meanings, some of which are described by Robert A. Campbell in his book, Our Flag.
 (Our original flag)
The original stars and stripes — June 14, 1777
The ideal nation, therefore, must be in the form of the ideal man–with all the recognized characteristics of the ideal man as to rights, duties, purposes, methods of operation and destiny. It naturally follows that one’s conception of the ideal man simply needs enlargement to constitute his conception of the ideal nation. When, therefore, one has determined the appropriate design to symbolize his conception of the ideal man, he has also found the appropriate design for the Flag of his ideal nation.
The Stars and Stripes, as above described, are the appropriate elements of the flag of our new ideal nation, because they are the complete and beautiful symbols of the characteristics of the ideal man. * * *
Theocracy values men as the material out of which to manufacture unnumbered hosts of glorifying worshipers, who will pay abject homage and unquestioning obedience to the recognized “Theos,” or to his priestly or royal vice-gerents. (Our Flag, Campbell, p. 64)
 The twelve white stars represent the twelve tribes of Israel worshipping the large star, who is God. The blue back-ground represents heaven. The red stripes represent the blood so often shed to establish that order or government or kingdom on the earth. Campbell gives a brief representation of each of the three flag colors:
Red signifies war if necessary. White, arbitration, intelligence, justice. Blue is industry and economy. (Ibid., p. 62)
* * *
Most things given in ceremony have a more significant and inward meaning. Although certain rites are temporal, they usually have a spiritual implication. By attributing the proper significance to such symbols and rituals, special blessings and increased knowledge can result.
 Chapter 9
THE PRE-EXISTENT ROLE OF WOMEN
To be a priestess queen upon thy Heavenly Father’s throne, and a glory to thy husband and offspring, to bear the souls of men, to people other worlds (as thou didst bear their tabernacles in mortality) while eternity goeth and eternity cometh; and if thou wilt receive it, lady, this is eternal life. (John Taylor, “Origin and Destiny of Women,” as quoted in Marriage Covenant, Kraut, p. 25)
Continuing along the lines of the previous chapter on representation, women are often considered as representatives of many wonderful attributes: love, kindness, emotion, caring, mercy, creation, life, endurance, and jewels in a man’s crown. The scriptures speak of the Zion of the Lord and the New Jerusalem as being like the bride of Christ. (See Rev. 18:23, 21:2.)
The role and duties of women in the pre-mortal world is much different from that of the men. It is quite similar to wars on earth when men to go battle and the women usually remain at home. Very few women get involved with war in mortality, and they didn’t over there either. Once again let’s refer to Mosiah Hancock’s vision for an explanation:
. . . one third of the males and females would not accept of either star, but withdrew from the conflict, the females taking the males by the arm, said, “Come, let us not take part with either side. Let us retire.”  (When they were cast out after the manner of spiritual warfare,) they had no power to return. When they were all cleared from the platform and Satan and his followers were all cast down, their female companions wept, and we all wept.
No females took part against the father and the Son, but all took sides in their favor, except the neutral ones already mentioned. After the tears were dried from our eyes, the voice of the Great Eternal spoke again and said, “Hear, O ye my children;” His voice penetrating the immensity of space so that all could hear it; “it is decreed by the Great Eternal that the females shall not follow their males in their banishment, but for every male that has kept his first estate and fought valiantly for the Father and the Son, there are two females. Again it is decreed that those males who have taken no part in this great conflict shall keep their females and a race of servants shall they be.” I then saw that the notable ones who had taken such an interest in the rights of the Father and the Son, were appointed to gather up those lone females whose companions had been cast down. They were again placed in classes, each man having two females in the ranks behind him. (Mosiah Hancock Jrnl., p. 72)
In recording this great vision of the Pre-Existence, Mosiah also said:
I looked in the direction indicated and saw an innumerable line of God’s children extending further than I could see. They were arranged in pairs, male and female, and passed in front of the Eternal Father who named them; and they were clad in long white robes with girdles tied around the waists; each pair seemed to have been created mates. (Ibid., p. 71)
All of the dispensation heads and great prophets were there, as well as Jesus, the Son of God, and Lucifer, the prince of light. At this time there was an approximate 50/50 balance  of both males and females. However, about one-third of all the hosts followed Lucifer–but as the Hancock vision states, there were no females among them. This is very interesting because if this is the case, that means that there were more men that followed Lucifer than followed God and Christ.
By figuring the ratio of those who rebelled based on the number 100, it would mean that one-third (or 33 persons, all men) left with Satan. Out of the number of 100, one-half (or 50) were males; so subtracting 33 from 50 leaves 17, or about 1/6 of the total original spirits were men who followed Christ–or about 1/4 of the remaining spirits. Thus the ratio of women to men after Satan and his followers were cast out, was 3 to 1. Women in the pre-mortal life were not rebellious.
They were asked, first the males, and then the females behind them, “Will you obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when you go to that earth?” Some would answer, Yes, but not all. Some would be asked, Will you obey that law which placed the God on high? And in every few cases I would hear the females say, “I want my own mate.” (Ibid., p. 72)
I saw Abraham, when he came back from the earth, and many of the notable ones, when they came back to be crowned. I saw them step upon the platform of the Gods and receive their crowns, and enter into their exaltations. At last I saw the time when Joseph was to go forth, and the voice of the Great Eternal said, “Oh, my neglected daughters, gather around these my faithful servants who have been faithful in teaching you the principles of righteousness and of our kingdom, that others may come up and have the chance to be glorified.” I saw many of them gather around Joseph and form a ring with him and the Savior in the center. They made a covenant with him that they would meet him on the earth and help him establish that great work upon the earth. I saw many of them gather around Brigham Young, John Taylor,  Wilford Woodruff, and many other notable ones, and around many who have not become so notable. They formed rings around each of them with Christ in the center each time, for He rehearsed to them the Covenant. They would take each other by the hand, in the circle, and bow their faces down to Him, in the center, and in the most solemn manner agree to meet them here, until every one of those neglected daughters was provided for; and they were filled with such joy that their songs made a paradise of the realm. (Ibid., p. 73)
But no such covenant was made between the devil and any of the female hosts in the Pre-Existence. He didn’t get to take any women with him–not even a prostitute, a whore, nor a witch. Not even the worst pre-mortal woman fell for his lies and big promises. Imagine the billions and billions of females listening to him and watching him, but not one of them decided to follow him nor his program. What an honor to the name of womanhood!
The devil is doomed to be a celibate bachelor. No wonder he got mad! No wonder he hates those righteous men who served God and Christ. No wonder he has been raising hell ever since! Not only is he without a woman companion, but all of his followers are, too. Satan has a kingdom filled with celibate eunuchs, and anyone who follows him will become the same.
God doesn’t want the devil, nor those who rebelled against Him, nor any wicked men on earth to have any wives. Parley P. Pratt explained:
The Sodomites, Canaanites, etc., received the reverse of this blessing. Instead of giving them a multiplicity of wives and children, He cut them off, root and branch, and blotted their name from under heaven, that there might be an end of a race so  degenerate. Now this severity was a mercy. If we were like the people before the flood, full of violence and oppression; or if we, like the Sodomites or Canaanites, were full of all manner of lawless abominations, holding promiscuous intercourse with the other sex, and stooping to a level with the brute creation, and predisposing our children, by every means in our power, to be fully given to strange and unnatural lusts, appetites, and passions, would it not be a mercy to cut us off, root and branch, and thus put an end to our increase upon the earth? You will all say it would. The spirits in heaven would thank God for preventing them from being born into the world under such circum-stances. Would not the spirits in heaven rejoice in the covenant and blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in relation to the multiplying of their seed, and in every additional wife which God gave to them as a means of multiplying? Yes, they would; for they could say–“Now there is an opportunity for us to take bodies in the lineage of a noble race, and to be educated in the true science of life, and in the commandments of God.” O what an unspeakable contrast, between being a child of Sodom, and a child of Abraham! (JD 1:259)
When God’s spirit children were sent down to this earth, the women were again faced with the problem of finding a good man to be their companion.
If we could make every man upon the earth get him a wife, live righteously and serve God, we would not be under the necessity, perhaps, of taking more than one wife. But they will not do this; the people of God, therefore, have been commanded to take more wives. The women are entitled to salvation. . . . (Brigham Young, JD 16:166)
Women are also entitled to exaltation in the celestial kingdom, so they must be sealed to men who hold the priesthood and share in their power and authority. Under God’s law it will not matter if the man fails; she can still share  in the blessings of the Priesthood. Not only that but she will find a man with the Priesthood, and he will not be of the caliber of worldly men. Indeed, there will be many, many more women than men in the Celestial Kingdom.
 Chapter 10
THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Abraham 4:4)
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw in vision the casting out of Lucifer and his followers:
And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son . . . was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son. And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him– (D & C 76:25-26)
Imagine the heavens all weeping over this guy. but they saw how cursed he would become–even destroyed—and it was enough to make them weep for such a catastrophe. They were all so sorry for him and his followers that they wept. But was Lucifer sorry or repentant? Absolutely not! He was filled with jealousy, anger, and hatred and wanted to destroy them all–including God and His Kingdom. In retrospect, there was really no justifiable reason to weep for him.
We are told that the devil and his spirit followers were cursed and sent down to earth. If that was so, why were all of those in God’s Kingdom sent down here, too? We battled with Satan before we came to earth, and now we have to continue the battle here.
 Lucifer, Satan, the Devil, or whatever we may call him, is a very persuasive fellow. He has been noted to have charm, knowledge, and great power. Regardless of what people have said about him, he is zealously dedicated to his work and tempts everyone with his evil ways.
Satan and his cohorts then came to represent the powers of evil in the universe and were even known in Jesus’ time as the Kingdom of Satan, against which Jesus had come to fight and to establish the Kingdom of God (e.g., Mark 3:23-26). The demons were considered to be the cause of sickness, both physical and mental, and of many calamities of nature (e.g., storms, earthquakes); in general, they were the forces responsible for much of human sin (and therefore misery), and they were always opposed to God’s purposes and God’s people.
In the NT writings, Satan appears frequently, especially in the Gospels. The figure is also known by numerous other designations, among which are the devil (e.g., Matt. 4:1), the tempter (e.g., Matt. 4:3), the accuser (e.g., Rev. 12:10), the prince of demons (e.g., Luke 11:15), the ruler of this world (e.g., John 12:31), as well as certain of the proper names listed above. One of the most interesting designations is “the evil one.” In fact, it is quite possible that, in the Lord’s Prayer, the original meaning of the petition, “deliver us from evil,” may have been, “deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13b).
In both Jewish and Christian apocalyptic writings, it is clearly affirmed that, no matter how powerful Satan may appear to be, his final overthrow by the power of God is certain (e.g., Rev. 20:1-10, where “the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan” is to be “thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone. . . and tormented day and night for ever and ever”). (Harper Collins Bible Dic., p. 975)
In mortality, the bad seem to get worse and the good frequently get better. Mosiah Hancock tells us:
 I knew my departure was near at hand and I asked, “If on my return I could have the same position I then held.” Then the Savior said, Yes, and greater, but you have to go down to the earth, and take a lowly position and be misunderstood by man, even your brethren and endure many hardships and set many examples of humility and patience, that you may return and enter the glory, even such as I have.” He then added, “Your time is now come to take your mission to the earth,” and He laid His hands on my head, as He had done to others, and set me apart for that important mission. He again said to me, “I will see you safely thru until you return again. I fully believe on that promise. (Mosiah Hancock Jrnl., pp. 73-74)
Apparently every person, before coming into mortality, was given a mission or special work to do while he was here. Some were selected to come into this world only to get a body because so much of their character and the status of their spirit had already been determined, and any further mission was unnecessary. Joseph Smith helps us understand why some die in infancy:
The Lord takes many away even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again. (TPJS, pp. 196-97)
We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. (TPJS, p. 181)
But the devil and his hosts came to earth with a mission, too. Thus, it was to be kingdom against kingdom, and many were appointed to missions that would prevent him and his kingdom from taking over the earth.
 The most important decision each of us probably ever made was in that pre-mortal world, where we made the choice to come to earth. But it is important to continue in that direction here in mortality. And if we are faithful, we have been promised a kingdom like God’s. It was enough to cause everyone to shout for joy!
The fascinating pre-mortal world was a period of learning and development. Spirit children grew into adulthood and maturity, selecting to obey or disobey laws and principles that were presented to them. Over many years, through their choices, they formed their character, personality, and destiny. They were so determined in these choices that they became pre-destined to the place and time of their mortal birth. The talents, abilities, desires and intellect exemplified here are really a mirror of our lives in that spirit world.
Again from Mosiah Hancock–
Again the question would be asked of the males, “If you will not join the Church of Christ, what do you wish to be? He would sometimes say, “I wish to be a judge, or an officer of high rank among the people.” Then he would be asked, “Will you sustain the laws of God and also the rights of mankind?” and the answer in every instance, was, “yes.” (Mosiah Hancock Jrnl., p. 73)
Much speculation, conjecture and misinterpretation have been circulated about Satan and his evil spirits that were cast out of heaven. Some have said the devil had a physical body, that he came from some other world or kingdom, that he seduced Eve, and that those evil spirits were men who had fallen from some other world. Orson Pratt has masterfully used the scriptures to explain how all these assumptions are false:
Some, perhaps, may imagine that these angels were beings who had been redeemed from some former world, and afterwards rebelled; but if this were the case, they would not be evil spirits, but would be evil beings, having flesh and bones, and consequently would be unable to enter into the tabernacles of human beings; but as many of them frequently have entered into one person, it shows most clearly that they are spirits. Others, perhaps, may imagine that these fallen angels are the spirits of evil men who have died on some former world, and whose bodies have never been raised; but this conjecture would not harmonize with the plan, pursued in regard to the wicked of this creation who are all to be raised from the dead and their spirits and bodies to be reunited; neither would it harmonize with the testimony of the apostle Jude who says, “The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in ever-lasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude, verse 6) This passage proves that fallen angels are those who were on trial in their first estate. Angels do not receive fleshly bodies until they enter their second estate, consequently those in the first estate must be spirits. That these angels were spirits, pertaining to this creation, and not to a former one, is shown from the fact, that they are reserved “in chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” If they had lived in a first estate, preceding the one where our spirits were on trial, then they would have been judged on a previous world, but their judgment day has not yet come, but will come at the end of the earth, or at the time when the wicked of this world are judged. If, then, they are to receive a judgment in connection with the inhabitants of this earth, they must have formed a portion of the same family in the first estate, and did not have an origin anterior to the family, designed for this earth. (The Seer, Orson Pratt, p. 50)
It may seem strange that Satan was given so much free agency and power here on earth. The Prophet Joseph com-mented on many of the devil’s gifts, deceptions and abilities and some of them are listed below: (taken from TPJS)
- The devil teaches the doctrine of transmigration or reincarnation. (p. 105)
- The devil is “indefatigable. . . in tempting and laying snares for the people of God.” (p. 130)
- The devil will use his greatest efforts to trap the Saints. (p. 161)
- The devil may appear as an angel of light. (p. 162)
- The devil is an orator; he is powerful. (p. 162)
- The devil can speak in tongues; he can tempt all classes. (p. 162)
- If Satan should appear as one in glory, who can tell his color, his signs, his appearance, his glory, or what is the manner of his manifestation? (p. 204)
- No man knows the spirit of the devil, and his power and influence, but by possessing intelligence which is more than human, and having unfolded through the medium of the Priesthood the mysterious operations of his devices; without knowing the angelic form, the sanctified look and gesture, and the zeal that is frequently manifested by him for the glory of God, together with the prophetic spirits, the gracious influence, the godly appearance, and the holy garb, which are so characteristic of his proceedings and his mysterious windings. (p. 205)
- So the devil, thinking to thwart the decree of God, by going up and down in the earth, seeking whom he may destroy–any person that he can find that will yield to him, he will bind him, and take possession of the body and reign there, glorying in it mightily, not caring that he had got merely a stolen body. (pp. 297-98)
- The devil can speak many true things. (p. 214)
- As far as we degenerate from God, we descend to the devil and lose knowledge, and without knowledge we cannot be saved. (p. 217)
- If man does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. (p. 217)
- The devil has great power to deceive; he will so trans-form things as to make one gape at those who are doing the will of God. (p. 227)
- It is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind, and hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness. (p. 241)
- The devil flatters us that we are very righteous, when we are feeding on the faults of others. (p. 241)
- What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world. (p. 270)
- There are so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon, it gives him the advantage oftentimes. (p. 331)
- He comes into this world, binds up men’s bodies, and occupies them himself. (TPJS, p. 306)
- If we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from Him and drawing towards the devil. (TPJS, p. 216)
Even with this tremendous power given to the devil, there is a significant distinction from the power of Christ. The devil uses his for temptation, wickedness and evil, while Christ uses his power for truth, virtue and righteousness.
But God has spoken now, and so has the devil; Jesus has revealed his Priesthood, so has the devil revealed his, and there is quite a difference between the two. (Brigham Young, JD 13:281)
 We have been told that the devil showed up in the garden of Eden like a snake in the grass. Protestant ministers say he has a long tail, horns on his head and legs like a goat. But, according to Mormon theology, this is a wild fable. Joseph F. Smith explained:
We have been deceived; we thought that the devil had long horns and tail, a cloven foot, and was black, hideous, and grinning; but when we find him out, he is a gentleman in black broad cloth, with a smooth tongue, pleasant countenance, high forehead, and so on; quite a good looking fellow. That is the kind of a person we find the devil to be, and we will find him in more persons than one, and that too right in this city. (Jos. F. Smith, JD 11:313)
And Brigham Young gave a similar description:
And I will defy any man on earth to be more gentlemanly and bland in his manners than the master spirit of all evil. We call him the devil; a gentleman so smooth and so oily, that he can almost deceive the very elect. (JD 12:128)
Portrait of a Devil
In order to obtain an even clearer picture of the devil, let’s turn to the scriptures themselves. They record that–
He is “the tempter.” (Mt. 4:3)
He is “the prince of demons.” (Mt. 12:24; Mk. 3:22; Lk 11:15)
He is the “source of demoniacal possession.” (Mt. 12:22-29; Lk. 11:14-23)
He put the betrayal into the heart of Judas. (Jn. 13:2, 27)
He perverts the scripture. (Mt. 4:4; Lk. 4:10, 11)
He is “the god of this world.” (II Cor. 4:4)
He is “the prince of the power of the air.” (Eph. 2:2)
He “fashions himself into an angel of light.” (II Cor. 11:14)
He is our “adversary.” (I Pet. 5:8)
He is “the deceiver of the whole world.” (Rev. 12:9; 20:3,8,10)
He is “the great dragon,” “the old serpent.” (Rev. 12:9; 20:2) He is the “seducer of Adam and Eve.” (Gen. 3:1-20)
He will “flee if resisted.” (Jas. 4:7)
He caused “Paul’s thorn in the flesh.” (II Cor. 12:7)
He hindered Paul’s missionary plans. (I Thes. 2:18)
He caused Ananias to lie. (Acts. 5:3)
The Gentiles are under his power. (Acts. 26:18)
He blinds the minds of unbelievers. (II Cor. 4:4)
False teachers are “a synagogue of Satan.” (Rev. 2:9; 3:9)
He can produce false miracles. (II Thes. 2:9)
He is the moving spirit of the “Apostasy.” (II Thes. 2:9)
As a roaring lion, he seeks to devour Christians. (I Pet. 5:8)
He is overcome by faith. (I Pet. 5:9)
(See Bible Handbook, Halley, p. 456)
When the devil came to Jesus, there was face to face confrontation. After this personal experience, Jesus was able to give first-hand descriptions. He said that–
He was “the enemy.” (Mt. 13:39)
He is “the evil one.” (Mt. 13:38)
He is “the prince of this world.” (Jn. 12:31; 14:30)
He is “a liar,” and “the father of lies.” (Jn. 8:44)
He is “a murderer.” (Jn. 8:44)
Christ “saw him fallen from heaven.” (Lk. 10:18)
He has a “kingdom.” (Mt. 12:26)
“Evil men are his sons.” (Mt. 13:38)
He “sowed tares among the wheat.” (Mt. 13:38, 39)
He taketh away the word out of their hearts. (Mt. 13:19; Mk. 4:15; Lk. 8:12)
He “bound a woman for 18 years.” (Lk 13:16)
He “desired to have Peter.” (Lk 22:31)
He has “angels.” (Mt. 25:41)
“Eternal fire is prepared for him.” (Mt. 25:41) (Ibid., p. 456)
 The devil’s temptation is always there to make things seem a little more profitable, but actually they are a little less righteous. Dr. Hugh Nibley explained:
The devil serves his client, gratifies his slightest whim, pampers his appetites, and is at his beck and call throughout his earthly life, putting unlimited power and influence at his disposal through his command of the treasures of the earth, gold and silver. But in exchange the victim must keep his part of the agreement, following Satan’s instructions on earth and remaining in his power thereafter. That is the classic bargain, the pact with the devil, by which a Faust, Don Juan, Macbeth, or Jabez Stone achieve the pinnacle of earthly success and the depths of eternal damnation. (Enoch, the Prophet, p. 175)
This explains why the Prophet Joseph warned us that “you cannot watch him [the devil] too closely, nor pray too much.” (TPJS, p. 25)
Some people probably wish that the powers of darkness and evil could be obliterated from our universe. That might appear to be a lofty thought, but it cannot be so, for there is a definite purpose for such powers. Brigham Young said:
Christ and Satan never can be friends. Light and darkness will always remain opposites. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan will always remain two kingdoms. (JD 1:188)
On every world there will be combat between a “Christ” and a “devil” who seek for freedom or slavery for every living soul. It is an eternal way between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness.
 Chapter 11
HOW TO DESTROY A KINGDOM
And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple. (Jesus, D & C 103:28)
I will not have a coward in my army!!! (Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.)
In a war you must know all the strengths and the weaknesses of your enemy. But this is not all; you must have the courage to do something about it. Victory parades were never given for the weak, the timid, or the cowards in any war.
Unfortunately courage and sacrifice are not always found on the battlefield. Other methods, some not so honorable, are frequently used in dealing with the enemy, such as espionage, sabotage, spying, and other subversive activities.
In building a strong and sturdy house, you must first understand the forces that could destroy it so that you can prevent them, if possible. You should insulate it properly against cold and heat and leaks; try to protect it from fire; safeguard it against insects and rodents; use quality materials and workmanship so it doesn’t collapse; and take precautions against thieves and robbers.
So it is with building the Kingdom of God. Every weakness, every frailty and every force that can come against the kingdom should be identified, analyzed, and prepared for.  We need to learn not only how the devil built his kingdom, but also how he can destroy God’s Kingdom.
We don’t have a comprehensive written record that gives us the details of that war in heaven. We can’t find anyone who was there that remembers all about it, nor do we have knowledge of any revelation telling exactly how the devil achieved his remarkable success. We wonder what principles he practiced and what operations he used. Since we lack this information, we need to study how his government operates and what orders his employees follow.
In the criminal world the police say “look for the motive;” in the business world it is “follow the money;” and in the battle of these opposing two kingdoms we say “discern the temptation.” A policeman can track down a criminal by studying his M.O. or “method of operation.” Listed below are ten “methods of operation” used by the devil. If we identify them in advance, we should be better able to recognize them if and when they appear in our individual lives:
- Sedition, treason, conspiracy
- Flattery and praise
- False promises
- Appealing to the carnal nature
- Payoffs and blackmail
Spies are people trained and hired specifically for gathering information about an enemy. They are different from double agents, traitors, or innocent victims.
 Example. Probably no one (at least no other woman) has even gained the reputation for success as a spy as has Madam Mata Hari. She was employed by the Germans during World War I and did so well that they called her a “Super Spy.” The damage she caused the Allied forces has never been fully realized.
Mata Hari, real name Margarete Gertrud Zelle, 1876-1917, dancer on the French stage who was convicted as a German spy in World War I, was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, and was married at the age of 18 to Capt. Campbell MacLeod of the Dutch colonial army. She spent most of her married life in Java, where she studied the native dances. After her divorce in 1903 she went to Paris where she became a vaudeville dancer acclaimed for her exotic Oriental dances, and a famed courtesan. In 1907 she appears to have joined the German secret service and to have been one of Germany’s superspies during Word War I, obtaining important secret military information from many Allied officers. She was eventually trapped by the French secret service, tried before a court-martial, and shot by a firing squad in Paris. (American People Enc. 12:271)
- Sedition, Treason, Conspiracy
By definition, sedition means stirring up resistance or rebellion against the government or authority in power. This may be in the form of letters, pamphlets, books, and speeches, but still remaining within the authority of the legal system. It does not imply some overt act of violence against the authority, whereas treason does–involving acts of violence, betrayal and overthrow of the lawful government and betrayal to an enemy. Conspiracy is when two or more people agree and plot to work together for the overthrow of a government.
Harry Dexter White, Harry Hopkins, and Alger Hiss were but three of Stalin’s agents in the Roosevelt Administration who caused incalculable harm to America and the world. White held a number of key positions within the Treasury Department, including Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. He was the chief U.S. technical expert at the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference in 1945 and had a major hand in designing the disastrous International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
As special assistant to President Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins dramatically changed the course of history by, among other things, providing the Soviets with everything they needed to make an atomic bomb.
Alger Hiss, with the aid he furnished Stalin and the UN alone, proved he was worth more to the communists than a hundred divisions. (Conspiracy for Global Control, p. 65)
- Flattery and Praise
One way to weaken an enemy is to make him feel greater than he really is. Pride is vanity and vanity is a most destructive force. Men in high positions begin to love their authority, their power, and their control–more than justice and service to others.
The devil’s program is to let men trust in themselves or in the arm of someone else. Let them believe that their authority, their power and their decisions are honored by the Lord. Let them believe that everything they say is pure inspiration and that their station is equal to that of former great prophets. Let them assume that their word is the Lord’s. Encourage his arrogance, build up his ego, make him think that all who will not follow him are apostates and traitors. The Prophet Joseph declared:
Beware of Pride. We would say, beware of pride also; for well and truly hath the wise man said, that pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. And again, outward appearance is not always a criterion by which to judge our fellow man; but the lips betray the haughty and overbearing imaginations of the heart; by his words and his deeds let him be judged. Flattery is also a deadly poison. * * *
A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; . . .
How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations. (TPJS, p. 137)
Example: Probably no man in Mormon history came into the Church with as many talents, abilities and powers of persuasion as did John C. Bennett. His story is of a great man who experienced a great fall because of his passions and self-pride. Before Bennett joined with the Saints, Joseph Smith warned him in a letter:
“I have no doubt that you would be of great service to this community in practicing your profession, as well as those other abilities of which you are in possession. Though to devote your time and abilities in the cause of truth and a suffering people, may not be the means of exalting you in the eyes of this generation, or securing you the riches of this world, yet by so doing you may rely on the approval of Jehovah, `that blessing which maketh rich and added no sorrow.’ * * * Therefore, my general invitation is, let all who will come, come and partake of the poverty of Nauvoo, freely. I should be disposed to give you a special invitation to come as early as possible, believing you will be of great service to us. However you must make your own arrangements according to your circumstances. Were it possible for you to come here this season to suffer affliction with the people of God, no one will be more pleased to give you a cordial welcome than myself.” (CHC 2:50)
 The account continues according to Church history:
Surely this was frank enough, and ought to have dispelled from the Doctor’s mind all thoughts of winning worldly fame, or gratifying vain ambition, by linking his fortunes with those of the Church of Jesus Christ. The whole course of the Prophet here outlined dealing with the advent of John C. Bennett, vindicates him and the church from any complicity with the subsequent wickedness and vileness of that man. (Ibid., 2:50)
It is important to know the strengths and most powerful weapons of the enemy. One of the best ways to obtain this information is to persuade or bribe some of those in the opposing camp to be traitors. This enables penetration into enemy borders–in order to destroy ammunitions, guards, and eventually leaders themselves. Apostates and traitors are a most valuable asset, and they can be found among the following types of people:
Inside agents are enemy officials whom we employ. Among the official class there are worthy men who have been deprived of office; others who have committed errors and have been punished. There are sycophants and minions who are covetous of wealth. There are those who wrongly remain long in lowly office; those who have not obtained responsible positions, and those whose sole desire is to take advantage of times of trouble to extend the scope of their own abilities. There are those who are two-faced, changeable, and deceitful, and who are always sitting on the fence. As far as all such are concerned you can secretly inquire after their welfare, reward them liberally with gold and silk, and so tie them to you. Then you may rely on them to seek out the real facts of the situation in their country, and to ascertain its plans directed against you. (The Art of War, Sun Tzu, p. 145)
 Example: Haman did not like the Jewish people, and he “sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom” (Esther 3:6). Therefore, he offered King Ahasuerus a bribe to kill them.
And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.
If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. (Esther 3:8-9)
It was a price he could hardly turn down. In our money it would have been over five million dollars. However, the plot was discovered and only by some very shrewd and miraculous events were the lives of these Israelites saved.
- False Promises
The devil delights in giving false hope, false promises and false prophecies. He torments his own servants with delusions and disappointment. He loves to see people frustrated and discouraged. If he can steal something of value from them, he enjoys their anguish and grief. He builds castles in the sky and then destroys them. He entices people to gamble and loves to see them suffer great losses.
He promotes the doctrine of following a leader or some mortal with utmost confidence and blind obedience, especially religious leaders. How he laughs when people realize they were deceived; in such cases both leaders and followers were deceived. He leads men carefully along, whispering to them  that all is well; then he is delighted when they discover they have been blinded and are devastated.
His greatest triumph is watching people become completely complacent and secure with their religion, their government, and themselves, so that they refuse to search or investigate further because it might create some doubt and disturb their comfort zone. These people expect life to be a sea of tranquility. They are like a baby with a pacifier in his mouth–comfort without tangible gain. They live their lives in a bubble of false security and false hope.
Joseph Smith described such people when he said:
There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake. Many seal up the door of heaven by saying, So far God may reveal and I will believe. (TPJS, p. 309)
Example: A good example of how the devil gives false promises is in the case of Korihor in the Book of Mormon. He went about teaching there was no God and openly opposed all the teachings of God’s disciples. He confronted Alma and said if he would give him a sign, then he would believe. So he was struck dumb and Alma told him, “Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more?”
And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I also knew that there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me  that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me. * * *
And Korihor did go about from house to house, begging food for his support. And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram–and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.
And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell. (Alma 31:51-53, 58-60)
The devil will try to get you to break moral codes by promise or seduction. He’ll persuade you to do something wrong and then hold it over your head as blackmail. If he persuades you with one moral sin, he can then encourage you to do more. He’s very good at sabotaging defenses, breaking down standards, and compromising your religion. He’ll camouflage his objectives and appear not to be the cause of your downfall.
A Chinese philosopher once said, “When a cat stands before a mouse hole, 10,000 mice will not venture out.” But if the opposition hides and sets a trap, then the prey is easy to catch.
And it came to pass afterward, that he [Samson] loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was  Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. * * *
And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein they great strength lieth.
(Note: You would think that Samson would have figured out that the woman was planning an entrapment for him. He apparently was strong in his body but not very strong in his mind.)
And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb; if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. * * *
She called to the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.
And she made him [Samson] sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him. (Judges 16:4-5, 15-20)
The purpose of propaganda is to mislead and misinform. It has been stated that all wars are built on deception. You advertise that your strengths are greater and the enemies are  weaker than they really are. You start false rumors, give misinformation, and subvert the news media.
Propaganda was used extensively by the Nazis and the Communists. They even had their own people believing their lies, and certainly buffaloed America and our allies. We were sending the Russians foreign aid while they were making war machines to use against us. They trapped us into an extremely expensive stalemate war in both Korea and Vietnam.
John Swinton, the former Chief of Staff for the New York Times, was one of America’s best loved newspapermen. Called by his peers “The Dean of his Profession,” John was asked in 1953 to give a toast before the New York Press Club, and in so doing made a monumentally important and revealing statement. He is quoted as follows:
“There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes. (Operation Vampire Killer 2000, P.O. Box 8712, Phoenix, AZ 85066)
- Appealing to the Carnal Nature
Since all mankind have weaknesses, if identified, they can be used to advantage. A good example is recorded in the Book of Mormon about King Limhi. When he and his people were held captive by the Lamanites, he sent a “present” to the Lamanites of a “tribute of wine,” as he knew this was one of their weaknesses. Thus, Limhi and his people escaped by night, while the Lamanites were too drunk to notice. (See Mosiah 22:6-11.)
Regarding the weakness of immorality, Solomon was warned:
Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. * * * Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. (Proverbs 7:4-5, 25-26)
Example: There is probably no story of immorality as notorious as the incident of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his officers. It was an unnatural and unbelievable situation, because it occurred before there was any kind of mutual friendship or love. It was without justification for a man of such valor, and for one who already had many wives. He was a “man after God’s own heart.” (I Sam 13:14)
One wonders how a man with such a strict moral code and such intelligence and faithfulness to God could possibly be overcome by adultery! It is a sad story:
And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman  washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child. (2 Sam. 11:2-5)
Cover your tracks with camouflage. Do damage to the enemy from within, but leave no trace of what happened. Get your own agents into high positions in the enemy ranks. Persuade them to hire other agents in high offices. Get them to give orders for your benefit and pay off others to help.
Example: This has happened in our own U.S. State Department. A Hungarian freedom fighter, named Otto Otepka escaped the Communist take-over of his country and came to America. He was hired by the State Department, and during a Senate investigation, he was called in and told that a Communist had been employed in the State Department and he should have checked his background. He responded that he did, but his superiors hired him anyway. He was asked if he knew any others that he had rejected but that were hired anyway. He said yes. They asked him how many, and he responded that he would give them the answer the next day. When he came back, he said there had been 186 security risks hired over his objection. Some time later none of the “risks” were fired, but Otto Otepka was!
This is a classic example of infiltration by the enemy.
- Payoffs and Blackmail
In this case, the object is not necessarily to destroy all your enemies, but rather “convert” them by payoffs and blackmail. Corrupt the leading officials, rather than the commoners. The importance of one person in high position can be worth many times more than the value of an average person. Anyone who joins up should be treated well, paid well, and given immediate positions of responsibility.
Example: In the “Cold War” two different soldiers were approached by Communist spies, and their stories were almost identical. The Soviets asked for simple favors at first, such as getting a little map of the army barracks, for which they would pay them many thousands of dollars. It seemed very harmless, involving no apparent danger to military defense. And, actually it was of no military value. They reasoned that the money would be a tremendous help to them in solving their financial problems. They agreed and sold a crude map. Then the Communists came to them with another small project and said they would pay many more thousands of dollars. It seemed almost too good to be true, and so they found the information and sold it to the enemy. They were extremely happy with all the money. Then came the request for something of more value to the enemy. They both balked and thought it was too dangerous and didn’t want to do it. But they were told that they had already gone too far and that they would be reported to their superiors and end up in prison. Now they were being blackmailed and couldn’t back out. Eventually, those two soldiers ended up causing over 100 billion dollars damage to our defense system. Of course, our own government was so infiltrated by Reds that they each had to serve only four years in prison with time off for good behavior.
* * *
If all men were pillars of power against the forces of evil, this mortal battle with Satan would be easy, but all men are under the spell of the fall. All are human. All have sinned, and all come short of the glory of God. Even the prophets have their share of failings and weaknesses. No matter how much we repent or how hard we work for the Lord, we could never prove ourselves worthy to be in His presence.
I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another–I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Mosiah 2:21)
 Chapter 12
The dreadful work was done. And the pall of Sin and Gloom and Toil and Pain and Death fell upon a world which God had made beautiful. (Halley’s Handbook, p. 70)
After this world was created, everything connected there-to seemed to take a “fall.” Satan and his hosts were cast down; Adam fell; all the children of God were sent down here. Everyone went through some kind of fall to get here. However, in reality, everything was not in a state of “falling” so much as it was in a state of progression.
For mortality to begin here on the earth, someone had to have mortal children. The job fell on Adam and his wife, Eve. That obligation was not unique to just this earth, but on every earth throughout God’s kingdom.
In his journal, Joseph Lee Robinson wrote:
Attended conference. A very interesting conference; for at this meeting President Brigham Young said thus: That Adam and Eve were the names of the first man and woman of every earth that was ever organized. (p. 102)
Not only were the names (or titles) the same on every earth, but so were the circumstances.
 Regarding the “fall” of Adam, we should understand that when something “falls,” it descends from a higher place to a lower one. An apple “falls” from a tree down to the ground. When Adam “fell”, he descended from a higher position to a lower one. He fell from a much better place to a mortal earth where “cursed is the ground,” “in sorrow shalt thou eat of it,” and “thorns and thistles” would be one reason why he would have to work by “the sweat of thy face.” (See Gen. 3:17-19.) So what was this “higher position” from whence he fell?
It is necessary that we consider this topic in order to discover into whose kingdom we fell. Since we all “fell” from the presence of God, does that mean this world is a different kingdom? Since Satan had been sent here beforehand and was waiting for us, does that make it his kingdom? Or, since Adam started the whole human race on this mortal earth, is it his kingdom?
There is a spiritual power that comes with a mortal body. The Prophet Joseph explained that “All who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him.” (TPJS, p. 181)
When we came to earth, we were blessed with two wonderful advantages that we had not experienced before. First, we have mortal bodies; and secondly, we can build houses and even worlds with physical materials. Devils and evil spirits will never be able to enjoy either of these. “The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 181) When we look around this world and see all the birds, fish, animals, and plant life, we wonder how they got here and where they came from. Brigham Young had the answer:
They [Adam and Eve] came here, organized the raw material and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good for man; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. (JD 1:50)
Cleon Skousen reaffirmed:
In connection with the bringing of life to the earth, we now know that the interplanetary transplantation of life is a common procedure with the Lord. As President Brigham Young pointed out, when we learn the whole truth of the matter we shall see that all plant and animal life was brought “from other planets to this world.” In other words, older planets are used to provide parent stock for new planets. (First 2000 Years, Skousen, p. 29)
There are several theories on how mortality came to be on this earth, four of which are–
- A little “worm” crept out of the mud and grew legs and arms and eventually became man.
- God scooped up some dirt and blew on it and it became a living creature.
- Adam had a rib literally taken from his chest from which came a woman.
- Adam was a spirit child of God (not a resurrected, glorified being); he came to earth and ate mortal food, which created a physical body.
So what is the correct answer? In response to the first three theories, read what Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had to say:
Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being  a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 373)
God has made His children like Himself to stand erect, * * * He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be.” (Brigham Young, JD 11:122; see also H.C. Kimball, JD 6:101.)
Regarding the fourth theory, spirits cannot eat physical, mortal food; if they could, Satan and his hosts would be raiding our gardens so their bodies could become mortal. Adam had an immortal body, not just a body of spirit. His “fall” was from a higher position to a lower one, and his body was changed from immortal to mortal. As Brigham Young explained: When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. (JD 1:50)
Brigham Young also elaborated on the difference between the views of modern Christian ministers and the Mormons about the origin of man:
I have heard that the celebrated Mr. Beecher, of Brooklyn, once said that the greatest misfortune that could ever happen to man was to be born; but I say that the greatest good fortune that ever happened or can happen to human beings is to be born on this earth, for then life and salvation are before them; then they have the privilege of overcoming death, and of treading sin and iniquity under their feet, of incorporating into their daily lives every principle of life and salvation and of dwelling eternally with the Gods. (JD 13:145)
 And Orson Pratt commented:
And what was the fullest extent of the penalty of Adam’s transgression? I will tell you–it was death. the death of what? the death of the immortal tabernacle–of that tabernacle where the seeds of death had not been, that was wisely framed, and pronounced very good; the seeds of death were introduced into it. How, and in what manner? Some say there was something in the nature of the fruit that introduced mortality. (Masterful Discourses of O.P., comp. by N. B. Lundwall, p. 336)
Thus is the brief story of the creation of our world and the mortals that dwell upon it. It is the story of every world that has been or ever will be created. It illustrates the beginning of worlds and the beginning of kingdoms.
 Chapter 13
THE APPLE OF HER EYE
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, . . . (Gen. 3:6)
The Garden of Eden was a fruit orchard, as the area was filled with fruit trees rather than vegetables. Adam and Eve were surrounded by a wide variety of fruit for their eating pleasure, for it is written:
And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:9)
All the trees of the garden were beautiful to look at, delicious to taste, and sufficient to sustain life. This was the food of immortals. But there was “one tree” that they were told not to partake of–unless it was for a special purpose. It was written of that tree: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) This means that if they ate of it, they would no longer remain immortal but would become mortal and eventually die. The purpose of eating from that tree was not just to bring death.
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Gen. 3:5)
 This means that if they ate of this tree, they would understand things as God does.
The tree of life was a tree sustaining everlasting life, as Alma said:
Now we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit. * * * For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God. . . and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated. (Alma 42:3, 5)
The tree of life was a tree sustaining a man in ever-lasting life. The tree of knowledge was a tree sustaining a man in mortality.
Enter the snake. It is very difficult for Satan to speak truth–unless it is with the intent to deceive. This was the case while he was in the Garden of Eden. He has always been known to say anything if it will promote his kingdom. On this occasion he preferred to talk to Eve instead of Adam, and he tried to get her to eat from that forbidden tree. These are some of the statements he made regarding that tree:
- Ye shall not surely die if you eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
- In the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened.
- Ye shall be as Gods.
- Ye shall know good and evil.
- The tree was good for food.
- It was pleasant to the eyes.
- It would make one wise.
 In every instance he was telling the truth. All of these were positive statements, but he “forgot” to include the one negative clause–that God had commanded against it: “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it.” (Gen. 3:3)
This is one of the most important lessons man should learn. No matter how truthful, positive, appealing, or popular something is, if it has been forbidden by God, then that should be sufficient for us.
In the King James version of the Bible, the serpent showed up from out of nowhere to tempt Eve. In the book of Moses we read that “Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve. . . .” (Moses 4:6) It seems that Satan influenced the serpent–indicating two different personages. But it said that the serpent “had drawn away many after him,” referring to the pre-mortal life. Since it was Satan who did that, it presents a stronger case that Satan and the serpent are the same. This corresponds with the great vision of Joseph and Sidney, after which they recorded, “We beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ.” (D & C 76:28)
But let’s discuss more about each of these two trees:
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life was a wonderful tree, but we can’t find any like it around anymore. There are some significant facts pertaining to it:
It is designed to teach us that God had it within his power to make us immortal beings without requir-ing us to pass through the misery and physical travail called death. It means that just as Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit and thereby caused a metamorphosis in their bodies by violating certain natural laws and injecting into their systems the seeds of death, so also they could have turned about–had God permitted it–and immunized themselves against these destructive elements by partaking of the Tree of Life. The above scripture specifically states that had they eaten of this fruit, they would have lived forever! (First 2000 Years, Skousen, p. 65)
After the fall, Adam and Eve could not partake of this tree–
. . . lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever * * * he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Gen. 3:22, 24)
From this we understand that Adam and Eve could have eaten of this “tree of life” both before and after the fall. The fact that he used some Cherubims and a flaming sword to keep them from eating while they were mortal, indicates that it was not impossible for mortals to eat of it.
The Tree of Good and Evil
We are led to believe that all the trees were good except the tree of good and evil. But that tree wasn’t all bad, as by partaking, one gained the knowledge of both good and evil–and that can’t be all bad. If the tree of good and evil were such a terrible thing, God would have chopped it down long before.
Regarding Adam and Eve, it was a case of obeying a higher law and disobeying a lesser law, for only by partaking of the “forbidden” fruit could they have mortal children.
And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:22-25)
After Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the Lord asked her why she did it. In justifying her action, she explained, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:13), from which came the famous saying, “The devil made me do it!”
Adam also had to account for eating the forbidden fruit, and he defended himself by saying, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:12). And men have continued to blame their wives for their problems ever since.
Importance of Both Good and Evil
Spirits are not forced down to this earth against their will, nor are they subjected to the misery, temptations and evil that abound in mortality without having agency in the matter. Nor did God subject us to all this evil and darkness without first understanding it Himself. Is evil really for our good or for our misery? From the editor of the Millennial Star comes the following excellent explanation of the importance of both good and evil co-existing on this earth:
The Almighty is a God of Truth, or a being who acts on eternal, unchangeable principles or laws. Therefore the method of creating, peopling, redeeming, and sanctifying this earth must be in the similitude of the plan which has been pursued with other worlds in the eternities which have past. It is evident that truth, and its opposite, or the principles of good and evil must be co-existent with each other, and that the presence of one has ever been necessary to develop the nature and powers of the other. From this it would appear that all organizations and intelligences must experience the effects of evil in order to understand its opposite, be redeemed by a sacrifice similar to the one made for this earth, and receive purification, sanctification, and final redemption through faith, good works, and obedience to similar laws and ordinances. Co-existent with the Gods of Eternity, there must have always been personal representatives of evil, or devils for them to subdue, in order that there might be an opposite in all things. Without opposition there can be no progression; without hate, no love; without darkness, no light; without sorrow, no joy; without a hell, no heaven; without devils, no Gods. (Mill. Star 17:785-86)
And Brigham Young said the same thing:
Can the people comprehend that there is not, has not been, and never can be any method, scheme, or plan devised by any being in this world for intelligence to exist eternally and obtain an exaltation, without knowing the good and the evil–without tasting the bitter and the sweet. Can the people understand that it is actually necessary for opposite principles to be placed before them, or this state of being would be no probation, and we should have no opportunity for exercising the agency given us? Can they understand that we cannot obtain eternal life unless we actually know and comprehend by our experience the principle of good and the principle of evil, the light and the darkness, truth, virtue, and holiness–also vice, wickedness, and corruption? (JD 7:237)
 Mortality provides plenty of experience, both positive and negative. Did you ever put your fingers on a hot stove and get burned? It just takes once to learn that lesson. When you commit a sin, you experience another kind of burn. It would be stupid to purposely keep on putting your fingers on a hot stove, and it is just as stupid to keep on sinning. Once is enough for both experiences.
Without these experiences in mortality, our salvation and exaltation would be incomplete. We would have remained in the Pre-Existence as happy little spirits without a mortal body, without the knowledge of good and evil, without a resurrection, without exaltation, and without being crowned a King with a Kingdom.
 Chapter 14
THE FAITHFUL AND UNFAITHFUL
Behold, the kingdom is yours. And behold, and lo, I am with the faithful always. Even so. Amen. (D & C 62:9)
What causes so many differences in people? Why are some faithful to the gospel and some not? Why do some children turn out to be renegades while all the rest are good and faithful members of the family? With an organization as grand and glorious as the Kingdom of God, how come so few are seeking for it and want to be a part of it?
From the following two illustrations–one from Brigham Young and the second from Luke–we can gain a little better understanding of some children and why they do what they do:
There are causes for this which some may not have thought about. I often think of them. You take, for instance, a father, who has, say four, ten or twelve sons. He may have abundance to dispose of to each and every one; but he dislikes some particular one, and perhaps feeds and clothes eleven, but the twelfth, whom he hates and despises, he turns out of doors to provide for himself. This one son goes forth weeping, and says, “I am forsaken of my father and his house; now I have to look after myself. I have the earth before me; I have to live; I do not want to kill myself, and as I have life before me, I certainly must make my own future. I will go to work and accumulate a little of something, so that I can purchase me a piece of land. When it is  purchased I will put improvements upon it. I will build me a house; I will fence my farm; I will set off my orchard and plant out my garden; and I will gather around me my horses, my cattle, my wagons and carriages, and I will get me a family.” Pretty soon here is a boy who knows how to live as well as his father does. How is it with the rest of the family? They are fed and clothed by their father; they know not where it comes from nor how it is obtained, and they scarcely know their right hand from their left with regard to the things of the world. (Contributor 2:309)
Although the one son had a rough start, he eventually built up a “kingdom” of his own. The others had no kingdom of their own and they really didn’t deserve one anyway, as they never even tried to build one. This story is in many ways a reverse of the prodigal son (as related below), but both accounts show how a son was able to receive a kingdom of his own.
And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. (Luke 15:11-32)
Most Protestant ministers interpret this parable as favoring the son who was lost rather than the son who stayed home. They criticize the son who “complained” to his father and rejoiced over the son who had sinned and finally acknowledged it and returned home. Albert Barnes, a Protestant Biblical scholar, wrote 14 volumes of notes pertaining to the Bible, and his comments on this parable were–
He [the older son] had therefore no right to complain.
This instructive and beautiful parable was designed to vindicate the conduct of Jesus–to show that it was right to receive sinners, and that the conduct of the Pharisees was unreasonable. The elder son represents the Pharisees; the younger, the returning sinner, whether Jew or Gentile; and the father, God, who is willing to receive them. (Barnes’ Notes, 11:107)
But let’s analyze these two stories in more detail, as they teach an important lesson. They both present an excellent description of how we can build our own kingdom in this earth life. The first story shows how a man can do this without help or even acknowledgment from his father. The second one shows how a faithful son remains with his father and his program by continually working with him–and then inheriting it.
With or without his father, each built up a kingdom on correct principle and keeping the commandments. The faithful son acknowledged this when he said, “Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; . . .” (v. 29). Notice that he will inherit all that is left; and though the other son got a fancy “Welcome Back” party, he was not promised any more inheritance. Perhaps if the older son had realized this, he might have been happier to see his brother and even more forgiving.
One spent his “inheritance” in doing wickedness and the other insured his inheritance through his righteous living. The wild son will be a servant in the kingdom of his brother. This can apply not only in this man’s family, but also to the future Kingdom of God.
Joseph Smith made this distinction:
Gods have an ascendency over the angels, who are ministering servants. In the resurrection, some are raised to be angels, others are raised to become Gods. (TPJS, p. 312)
Here it is clear that some people will be resurrected as angels or servants, while others will become Gods. In mortality we decide our eternal inheritance–either to become a God over our own kingdom, or to be like the son who “wasted his substance” and spent his inheritance on the things of this world and merely asked to “make me as one of thy hired servants.” How much better to have the Father say, “Son, thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”
Most people desire a life of ease and luxuries, devoid of trials, sorrows, and disappointments. But life has much greater significance. Elder B. H. Roberts explained:
Then how blessed, indeed, some one will exclaim, must they be who are born to riches, who were born to titles, to dukedoms, earldoms, and lordships! How faithful must they have been who inherit these privileges and blessings! whose life is one continual summer, whose existence is as a sea without a ripple! Nay, I pray you, take no such view of it as that. This class that I have described are not the most blessed among men. When you would point to those who are the favored sons of God, and who enjoy the best and highest privileges in this life, you must take into account the object for which man came here. That object is to gain an experience. Hence, those are the most blessed who live in the midst of conditions that give the widest experience. The favored sons of God are not those furthest removed from trial, from sorrow, from affliction. It is the fate, apparently, of those whom God most loves that they suffer most, that they might gain the experience for which men came into this world. It is not the smooth seas and the favorable winds that make your  best sea-men. It is experience in stormy weather; it is the ocean lashed into a fury by the winds, until the fretted waves roll mountain high and make the “laboring bark climb hills of sea and duck again and again, as low as hell is from heaven.” It is when the lightning splits the clouds, when the masts are splintered, when the ropes are tangled, and all is confusion, that the sailor learns to control his fear and stand unmoved and calm in the midst of the threatening difficulties about him. Those are the experiences that make good sailors. And so the sorrows, the afflictions, the trials, the poverty, the imprisonment, the mobbings, the hatred of mankind, are experiences that furnish men an opportunity to prove whether or not the material is in them to outride the storms of life, prove their right and title to that exaltation and glory which God has in reserve for the faithful. You cannot fully comprehend this subject as to the past unless you contemplate it in the relationship it bears to the future. (Collected Discourses 4:236-37)
Kingdoms are not made by those without experience, and experience does not come through luxury and pleasures alone.
When God created this world, He did it with a special purpose in mind. It was not just an extension of his house to make more room for His spirit children. He did not just throw us out of His kingdom in heaven and abandon us to earth just to have Satan torment us. As a Father, He had a divine love for His children, and had a perfect plan that He wanted to share with us. In fact, He did not submit us to something that He had not experienced Himself. As one early LDS writer stated:
He understands the number, and nature, the beginning, object, and end of all things for He belonged to the council in which the plans of creation were devised, and has practically assisted to carry them out  in their details. He knew the spirits of men before they came here, and the great object to be accomplished in their union with mortal bodies. He comprehends the origin and effects of all the imperfections, trials, and afflictions, and the full extent and power of all the evil, with which man has to combat in his low estate. He has learned all these things by thorough practical experience, by handling, suffering, and realizing them, even as His creatures now do; therefore He has had hands to labour, a body to suffer, a spirit to be chastened, and a soul to appreciate. He has had evil in every form to contend with, temptations to resist, desires, passions, and propensities to subdue and overcome. He has had death to suffer and to conquer, a resurrection to rejoice in, and has been added upon with celestial power and glory. This is the God with whom we have to do. (Mill. Star 17:786)
Conditions were much better for us in the Pre-Existence after God kicked out the devil and sent him down to earth; but then, wonder of wonders, He did the same thing to us. Down here on earth we experienced wars, poverty, sickness, pain, and suffering. It has been described by some as a type of hell: “If we are united, we are independent of the powers of hell and of the world, which terms are synonymous with me.” (Brigham Young, JD 5:257) So why did God remove us from heaven and send us down here to “hell?” Again, let’s turn to Brigham Young for the answer, who said that if God were to speak to us, He would say:
I have, in my wisdom, reduced you; I have caused that you should drink of the dregs of the bitter cup. I have placed you in the depths of ignorance, and have surrounded you with weakness, to prove you. I have subjected you to all misery that can be endured. I have caused you to come upon this earth, where misery, and darkness, and every species of unbelief and wickedness reign, to prove you, that you may understand and know the good from the evil, and be capable of judging between these with a righteous judgment. (JD 6:285)
 It is still apparent, however, that there are many people who go through life without much trouble or difficulty–even those that are considered “bad”. Why is it that the most faithful and righteous people experience the most adversity? History records the persecutions, tortures, and deaths of great prophets, apostles, and Saints. Why is this? Once again, let’s listen to Brigham Young:
There is no other rule, no other method on this Earth by which facts can be demonstrated; it must be by their opposites.
If Adam and Eve had not partaken of the forbidden fruit, and tasted what sin was, they would have remained in ignorance to all eternity. Unless persons know what the effects of sin are–unless they drink of the bitter cup, it is impossible they can know the sweet. . . . Is it necessary that we should suffer? Yes, it is just as necessary that the Saints should be persecuted, afflicted, cast down and suffer, as anything else in the providences of God that is dealt out to them. * * * So, it is just as great a folly to talk about being exalted in the Kingdom of God without passing through all the affliction, privation, and distress that mortal man can pass through on Earth. * * * You cannot receive an exaltation without you first know[ing] how to appreciate it. (Tchgs. of B.Y., Collier, pp. 332-33)
It was well said in one of the books of the Apocrypha written by Jesus, the son of Sirach. In his book called “Ecclesiasticus,” sometimes referred to as “The Preacher,” are many gems of truth and wisdom, i.e.:
My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation. Set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and make not haste in time of trouble. * * * Whatsoever is brought upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed to a low estate. For gold is tried in the fire; and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity. (Ecc. 2:1-2, 4-5)
 So in determining why some are faithful and some not, the following parable is applied to the Kingdom of Heaven:
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. (Matt. 22:2-7)
So, if we do not respond when the “King” calls, will we and all our possessions be destroyed? Will we be more interested in our farms (and homes) and our merchandising (and jobs), and in sports and recreation, than in heeding the call for the faithful. The above parable has a definite message for us today, as the key in determining one’s faithfulness or unfaithfulness seems to depend upon the interests and priorities of the individual.
 Chapter 15
CAIN AND ABEL:
DIVISION OF THE KINGDOM
And Abel hearkened unto the voice of the Lord. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And Cain loved Satan more than God. (Gen. 5:5-6, Insp. Trans.)
The recorded story of Cain is a short one, but the story of Abel is even shorter. Cain was unique in the history of the world and certainly one of the most powerful and important personalities in the Old Testament. To understand how the Kingdom of God was first disrupted and divided in mortality, it is important to know the roles played by both Cain and Abel. Thus, personal portraits of their lives and characters will be presented in this chapter under the following subtitles:
- Their Early Years
- Cain’s Apostasy
- Abel’s Murder
- Cain’s Sin Against the Holy Ghost
- Cain’s Curse
- Cain’s Conspiracy
- Their Early Years
Adam and Eve were obedient to God’s command to multiply and replenish the earth and were very productive. They lived for over 900 years in mortality, having numerous  children, but apparently very few had any interest in the Gospel. Only the names of Cain, Abel, and Seth were mentioned in scripture, and probably the rest of their offspring were looking for material wealth, prosperity and pleasure. But the three sons mentioned had a vital role to play in the establishing of the two kingdoms here on earth.
The scriptures are replete with types, patterns and symbols that frequently represent and warn of future events. Many things that happen today are illustrations of events from out of the past or predictions of the future. We see this most clearly in the lives of Cain and Abel.
Christ and the devil were the leaders of the two kingdoms in the pre-mortal world; now those kingdoms were to be represented on earth by Cain and Abel. Both Lucifer and Cain began as righteous men, but they apostatized. Lucifer declared war against Christ in an effort to destroy Him, and Cain devised a plan to destroy Abel.
Abel walked and talked with God to learn how to promote His Kingdom on the earth; Cain walked and talked with the devil and promoted his kingdom here in mortality. One became a son of God while the other became a son of Perdition.
The main objective for Adam’s coming to earth was to re-establish the Kingdom of God; the main objective of Satan was to destroy that kingdom–thus they were on a collision course from the very beginning. However, the only way the devil could accomplish this goal was by working through mortals. To understand the devil, we must study the lives of those who serve(d) him. The Apostle James said, “I will show thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) The kingdom a man belongs to is demonstrated in the life he leads.
 The scriptures tell us that “Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” (Gen. 4:2) In other words, one was a farmer and the other a rancher, and in reviewing history, those two combinations have been fighting each other ever since. But it wasn’t only their professions that created antagonism between these two young men. It was a larger and more encompassing problem–greed.
Cain was a strange combination of character traits. He was forceful, ambitious, and zealous in what he believed. He was a strong, self-willed person who sought for gain and leadership, wealth and power. He was an influential leader, attracting many followers both in the pre-mortal and mortal life. He was born white, was raised in the light of the Gospel, and was given the priesthood. (See TPJS, p. 169) Although his knowledge was great and he knew the fullness of the Gospel, he did not continue to exercise his priesthood in righteousness. His basic and eternal nature, known by God before-hand, eventually became the controlling force in Cain’s life.
God “knew all things from the beginning” and He had observed Cain down through the eternities and knew what he would do with his free agency when he came into mortality. Beyond any shadow of doubt God knew that although Cain had been enrolled in the cause of righteousness previously, he nevertheless had been harboring a secret nest of serpents in his breast and as a result would reveal his true character when put to the test in mortality. The Second Estate is ingeniously designed to prove the mettle of every man. It is the great final obstacle course on the highway of eternal progression. It highlights our strength and uncovers our weaknesses. (First 2000 Years, Skousen, p. 106)
A brief and simple biography of Cain’s life is provided by Bruce R. McConkie, and it will suffice for our purposes here:
Cain managed to attain the privilege of mortal birth. Under Adam’s tutelage, he began in this life to serve God. He understood the gospel and the plan of salvation, was baptized, received the priesthood, had a perfect knowledge of the position and perfection of God, and talked personally with Deity. Then he came out in open rebellion, fought God, worshipped Lucifer, and slew Abel. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 109)
So why did the Lord need to tell us the story of a rascal like Cain? If we could take a peek behind the scenes of history, we would discover that he has had a hand in the wars, wickedness, and grief that have been endured by mankind. His influence has been felt by mortals for nearly 6,000 years. In order to know how to combat such opposition, we should know and understand the person at the source–Cain, Satan’s representative on earth.
- Cain’s Apostasy
It was said here this morning that no person ever apostatized without actual transgression. (Brigham Young, JD 10:296)
God gave Cain a great deal of light, inspiration and revelation, but He also allowed him the right to hear from the devil. Both channels of revelation were open to Cain, just like today’s channels on a television set. But Cain mostly enjoyed the channel produced by Satan, and became more and more influenced by its programs.
And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord. And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering; But unto Cain, and to  his offering, he had not respect. Now Satan knew this, and it pleased him. (Moses 5:18-21)
Correct offerings to God are part of Priesthood functions, and together with other ordinances, they are very significant in determining a man’s eternal destiny. The priesthood is very delicate and fragile, yet like a two-edged sword, it can cut both ways. One simple mistake, or deliberate error, can start a man down the road to apostasy–and so it was with Cain.
But why was Cain’s sacrifice not accepted by God? Many people have thought it was because his heart was not right, or because he had committed evil, or because he loved Satan more than God–or the fruit and vegetables were bad! But Joseph Smith gave the correct answer:
Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission; and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. But Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God Himself testifying of his gifts. Certainly, the shedding of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself; and  this performance done with an eye looking forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of sins. (TPJS, p. 58)
How simple and clear is the difference between the sacrifices of Cain and Abel! One was a blood sacrifice (a type) and the other was fruits and vegetables (a substitute), showing that Cain was trying to change a Priesthood ordinance of the Gospel! Satan inspired him to apostatize, and the best way to do it was to change the ordinances and doctrines of salvation.
The above words of the Prophet Joseph provide important keys for us today in understanding the pathway to apostasy:
- God talked to both Abel and Cain.
- Abel was told the whole plan of the Gospel.
- The Gospel has many ordinances, and both Cain and Abel were instructed in them more fully than the Bible relates.
- These ordinances are always the same, but Cain changed them–especially the sacrificial ordinance. (See TPJS, pp. 58-59.)
- Some ordinances are a type or a reminder of events in the past or in the future.
- To change an ordinance of God indicates we have no faith in them or in God.
- Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
- When an acceptable sacrifice is made, God will bear witness of it.
- Ordinances of the Gospel should be done with faith in Christ.
Cain was willingly disobedient and lost the Spirit of the Lord. He was cursed and promised certain terrible punishments if he did not repent. God warned him:
Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. And thou shalt rule over him; For from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world.
And it shall be said in time to come–That these abominations were had from Cain; for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent. And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord. (Moses 5:23-26)
But Cain rejected this warning and not only desired to do evil, he loved it. These same influences can be seen in many people. For example, some people love to steal, and the more they steal the more they want. They can even be sent to prison for several years, and when they are released, they resume stealing all over again. Then as one crime is committed, the desire to commit others soon follows.
We need to know how a man can deliberately sin after he has received the Holy Ghost. Matthew 12:43-45 is difficult to understand, but the Prophet Joseph clarified it in his Inspired Translation:
And he said unto them, When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none; but when a man speaketh against the Holy Ghost, then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth him empty, swept and garnished; for the good spirit leaveth him unto himself.
Then goeth the evil spirit, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in and dwell there; and the last end of that man is worse than the first.
 In other words, an evil spirit has no place with a man who has the Holy Ghost, but when he speaks or acts against the Holy Ghost, then the devil can get seven other devils to come and live with that man.
We know that if we practice doing something, it gradually becomes easier to do. One of President Heber J. Grant’s most popular statements was:
That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased. (Gospel Standards, p. 355)
This principle applies to both doing something good or bad. It was so with Cain who gradually became weaker in righteousness but stronger in wickedness. The Prophet Joseph Smith spoke of this same principle by applying it to a person’s growth in the Kingdom of God.
. . . the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same. (TPJS, p. 51)
When men change, discard or oppose the doctrines of the Kingdom, they enter the realm of apostasy. A man must either advance and increase or he will digress and decline. As the first apostate, Cain paved the way and set the example for all other apostates.
- Abel’s Murder
The prayers of all the ministers in the world can never close the gates of hell against a murderer. (TPJS, p. 189)
As Cain began to apostatize, he lost the spirit of the Lord, “And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” (Gen. 4:5) The Spirit of the Lord was replaced by another spirit that filled Cain with jealousy, hate and greed–three things that usually precede a murder.
Abel, on the other hand, was a righteous son, and Joseph Smith said he had been assured of this by God Himself:
It is said by Paul in his letter to the Hebrew brethren, that Abel obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts. * * * We have very little on this important subject in the forepart of the Bible. But it is said that Abel himself obtained witness that he was righteous. Then certainly God spoke to him: indeed, it is said that God talked with him; and if He did, would He not, seeing that Abel was righteous deliver to him the whole plan of the Gospel? And is not the Gospel the news of the redemption? How could Abel offer a sacrifice and look forward with faith on the Son of God for a remission of his sins, and not understand the Gospel? The mere shedding of the blood of beasts or offering anything else in sacrifice, would not procure a remission of sins, except it were performed in faith of something to come; if it could, Cain’s offering must have been as good as Abel’s. And if Abel was taught of the coming of the Son of God, was he not taught also of His ordinances? We all admit that the Gospel has ordinances, and if so, had it not always ordinances, and were not its ordinances always the same? (TPJS, p. 59)
 This is a very interesting statement by the Prophet because he states that both Cain and Abel must have had the gospel. This is important to know because of the light and position these two men had. First of all, they possessed the ordinances of the gospel. Secondly, they had to have the priesthood to administer ordinances of the gospel. Thirdly, they walked and talked with God, which meant they had to hold the priesthood to be in His presence. But the ultimate distinction between the two is how they used their priesthood.
The Bible gives us a very brief account of what happened between the two brothers, which was “that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Gen. 4:8) The apocryphal book of Jasher, mentioned twice in the Old Testament (Joshua 10 and 2 Samuel 1) gives much more information about this murder. It sounds plausible because it is so much like the cause of many other murders.
And in some time after, Cain and Abel his brother, went one day into the field to do their work; and they were both in the field, Cain tilling and ploughing his ground, and Abel feeding his flock; and the flock passed that part which Cain had ploughed in the ground, and it sorely grieved Cain on this account.
And Cain approached his brother Abel in anger, and he said unto him, What is there between me and thee, that thou comest to dwell and bring thy flock to feed in my land?
And Abel answered his brother Cain and said unto him, “What is there between me and thee, that thou shalt eat the flesh of my flock and clothe thyself with their wool?
And now therefore, put off the wool of my sheep with which thou hast clothed thyself, and recompense me for their fruit and flesh which thou hast eaten, and when thou shalt have done this, I will then go from thy land as thou hast said.
And Cain said to his brother Abel, Surely if I slay thee this day, who will require thy blood from me? And Abel answered Cain, saying, Surely God who has made us in the earth, he will avenge my cause, and he will require my blood from thee shouldst thou slay me, for the Lord is the judge and arbiter, and it is he who will requite man according to his evil, and the wicked man according to the wickedness that he may do upon earth.
And now, if thou shouldst slay me here, surely God knoweth thy secret views, and will judge thee for the evil which thou didst declare to do unto me this day.
And when Cain heard the words which Abel his brother had spoken, behold the anger of Cain was kindled against his brother Abel for declaring this thing.
And Cain hastened and rose up, and took the iron part of his ploughing instrument, with which he suddenly smote his brother and he slew him, and Cain spilt the blood of his brother Abel upon the earth, and the blood of Abel streamed upon the earth before the flock.
And after this Cain repented having slain his brother, and he was sadly grieved, and he wept over him and it vexed him exceedingly.
And Cain rose up and dug a hole in the field, wherein he put his brother’s body, and he turned the dust over it.
And the Lord knew what Cain had done to his brother, and the Lord appeared to Cain and said unto him, Where is Abel thy brother that was with thee? And Cain dissembled, and said, I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper? And the Lord said unto him, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground where thou hast slain him. (Book of Jasher 1:17-29)
Further information on this murder is provided by Brigham Young:
Cain conversed with his God every day, and knew all about the plan for creating this earth, for his father told him. But, for the want of humility, and through jealousy, and an anxiety to possess the kingdom, and to have the whole of it under his own control, and not allow anybody else the right to say one word, what did he do? He killed his brother. (JD 2:142-43)
From what we have been able to calculate, Cain must have been about 129 years old when he killed Abel, and it was not done in self defense, rage, or a fit of passion. He deliberately killed Abel in a cold, calculated, pre-meditated first-degree murder.
By killing Abel, Cain thought he could obtain his temporal possessions, his birthright and the kingdom for himself and his posterity. Cain wanted all the rights, possessions, priesthood powers, and spiritual blessings of the firstborn. For several reasons we can assume that these two boys probably had on-going confrontations over this birthright of the firstborn.
The right of the firstborn goes back to the pre-mortal life in which Jesus was given the office and duty of the firstborn. He is called “the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29), and “in the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” (Col. 1:15) But Lucifer coveted the firstborn rights. As brother to Jesus, he thought he was in a position to challenge the rights of the firstborn.
As might have been expected, Cain followed the example of his mentor; and the recognition of his contention for the firstborn right makes his story much better understood. He also becomes a more meaningful symbol for one who loses the right to the priesthood. In most traditions Cain and Abel are twin brothers, thus setting up the classic con-frontation when the firstborn right was uncertain. The Zohar makes it clear that the right could have been Cain’s.
Following this scenario, Cain’s murderous reaction was not an act of anger or revenge; it was an attempt to cut off his brother’s posterity and therefore his priesthood line. Cain’s hope was that, with no one left to receive the firstborn right, it would fall back upon him by default. Not only was it not to be, but he also became a prototype of the kind of person from whom the priesthood would be restricted. (“Steve’s Select Studies,” 1998, p. 2)
Cain tried to take away the birthright of Abel, but it didn’t work out that way. The Prophet Joseph stated that the rights, blessings, and birthright of the Priesthood must be accompanied by something more than just ordination.
The power, glory and blessings of the Priesthood could not continue with those who received ordination only as their righteousness continued; for Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, was cursed. It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. (TPJS, p. 169)
Thus, it becomes very clear that Cain used his Priesthood to try to change the ordinances of the Gospel and to commit murder; therefore, his Priesthood became a curse upon him–a serious warning to all who hold Priesthood keys.
So what happened to Abel and the keys of the Priesthood which he held? The Prophet Joseph continues:
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous. God testifying of his gifts; and by it  he being dead, yet speaketh.” (Hebrews 11:4) How doth he yet speak? Why he magnified the Priesthood which was conferred upon him, and died a righteous man, and therefore has become an angel of God by receiving his body from the dead, holding still the keys of his dispensation; and was sent down from heaven unto Paul to minister consoling words, and to commit unto him a knowledge of the mysteries of godliness.
And if this was not the case, I would ask, how did Paul know so much about Abel, and why should he talk about his speaking after he was dead? Hence, that he spoke after he was dead must be by being sent down out of heaven to administer. (TPJS, p. 169)
How interesting that Abel was sent from heaven to visit with Paul the Apostle, probably revealing many important things on the subjects of sacrifice and murder, both of which he was very familiar.
After Cain had committed Abel’s murder, he was confronted by the Lord with the crime, and he responded, “Satan tempted me,” which has evolved in our day to, “The devil made me do it.” However, that was certainly no excuse for what he did, and thus he had to suffer the punishment.
All of Adam’s children are tempted and tried in mortality, and one of the devil’s most powerful and deceptive temptations is to get someone to do something wrong, thinking he will still obtain blessings. Men have been known to kill someone just for a few dollars. They seem to lose all sense of reason, logic or morality when they come under such evil and tempting influences.
Murder is one of the worst of all sins and one of the first commandments: “Thou shalt not kill.” (Ex. 20:13) But it is one of the major crimes that the devil uses to entrap victims. It was the major plot of the devil to cause Cain’s downfall. We read that it was the devil–
. . . who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel, it should not be known unto the world. and he did plot with Cain and his followers from that time forth.” (Helaman 6:27)
Notice that the devil caused him to think that the murder would be a secret from the world, but he lied–as nearly all murderers are caught and exposed.
It is written that “We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense.” (D & C 134:8) In other words, if a man intentionally murdered someone, then he should pay with his own life for that crime. These are laws that belong to the Kingdom of God, but of course they are seldom imposed in our generation.
Murder is such a terrible sin that it is one of only two that cannot be forgiven, for according to Joseph Smith, “A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness.” (TPJS, p. 339) He also added that, “This is the case with murderers. They could not be baptized for the remission of sins, for they had shed innocent blood.” (TPJS, p. 339)
There is an important lesson in all of this, for it seems that often “little evils” multiply into big ones. The seemingly insignificant passions of jealousy, ambition, and greed frequently cause people to be filled with “a thirst for blood,” which is a rather strange expression for wanting to kill someone. Consider these statements from early LDS leaders:
Wilford Woodruff: When men are destitute of the Spirit of God, they do not prize life, unless to indulge the cravings of unenlightened and perverted human nature; they cross each other’s interests, become filled with the spirit of wrath and indignation and thirst for and shed the blood of each other. (JD 10:218)
John Young: I just know there are men here right amongst us who thirst for the blood of the Prophets of God. (JD 5:24-25)
George A. Smith: If we go down into the States now, we find them engaged in a war, and I suppose that the language that is generally denominated the King’s English, fails to tell the extremes of folly, wickedness, corruption and degradation that brought this war on. Tongue cannot tell it, the language we speak has not got words enough to describe it accurately. Friends and brothers are killing each other. It actually seems as though the vengeance of God was poured out upon them, and every time that either party suffer a defeat, that party is filled with increased rage and vengeance, and they thirst for each other’s blood. (JD 9:347-48)
Brigham Young: The very Indians who massacre men, women, and children on the plains, have their religious ceremonies and pray to their God for success in killing men, women, and children. The French and Austrians meet and slay one another by hundreds and thousands; and thousands of women and children who were not engaged in battle are also sacrificed by the folly of those Christian wars. The instigators of those wars are just as guilty of murder, before God, as the Indians are for killing the men, women, and children who are passing through their country. What is the difference in the eyes of our Father and God? It is just as much murder to kill, unjustly, a million at a blow as it is to kill one, though Dr. Young has stated that “One murder makes a villain; millions make a hero.” (JD 7:137)
Orson Hyde: In conclusion, the present is an important era, an era in which the nations are becoming angry. They thirst for each other’s blood. (JD 2:210)
Joseph Smith: When a man begins to be an enemy to this work, he hunts me; he seeks to kill me,  and never ceases to thirst for my blood. He gets the spirit of the Devil–the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life–the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot save such persons; you cannot bring them to repentance. (JD 6:9)
It is apparent that apostasy brings out the worst in people. Forsaking truth promotes a continual downward course until one even commits such terrible sins as murder. It is the spirit that motivates men to fight, to kill the prophets, and to destroy the Kingdom of God. It was so with Cain, and it has been the same in our own dispensation.
The Prophet Joseph said: “In relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God.” (TPJS, 365) Solomon said, “The wicked watcheth the righteous and seeketh to slay him.” (Ps. 37:32) Jesus said, “from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.” (Matt. 11:12) Christ later noted that the kingdoms of the world would be opposed to His kingdom when he said there would be “kingdom against kingdom.” (Matt. 24:7) It is strange that opposition to the Kingdom of God is a continual thing, sometimes even resulting in violence and bloodshed.
- Cain’s Sin Against the Holy Ghost
All other sins are not to be compared to sinning against the Holy Ghost, and proving a traitor to the brethren. (TPJS, p. 156)
In the beginning Cain learned the rules of morality, religion and righteousness. But he turned away from those principles “and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord.” (Moses 5:26) As he continued to sin, he eventually committed murder and then sinned against the Holy Ghost.  These were unforgivable and unpardonable sins, putting him beyond redemption and the opportunity of being saved.
It has been revealed that “They [those overcome by the devil] are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say it had been better for them never to have been born.” (D & C 76:32) It is almost unbelievable that men would willingly continue on the path to destruction, but it has been said they love darkness more than light.
It sounds impossible that someone could love Satan more than God, but this was the case with Cain and also with many people today who have lost their desire to do anything good, virtuous, or spiritual. They are more in their element when they are involved with crime and corruption than with any honorable activities. The Lord told Cain:
Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire.” (Moses 5:23)
Of course, Cain failed the test and Satan won the battle. Cain’s serious mistakes resulted in the following consequences:
- He became the father of lies.
- He was called Perdition.
- Abominations came from him.
- He rejected the greater counsel.
- He was called Master Mahan.
- He gloried in his wickedness.
- He was shut out from the presence of the Lord.
Cain fell from the highest degree of light and intelligence to the lowest level of darkness and wickedness. He became a master of all that is evil.
 It requires a long time to become either an “exalted” devil or an exalted God. No one ever achieved these powerful positions without a diligent pursuit of and loyalty to the principles which govern those opposite kingdoms.
The plan of salvation is calculated to make devils as well as Saints; for by and by we shall need some to serve as devils; and it takes almost as much knowledge to make a complete devil as it does to fit a man to go into the celestial kingdom of God, and become an heir to His kingdom. We want to complete the education of a number of such fellows; they are running to the States, to California, and elsewhere, and are trying to reveal this, that, and the other; but I defy any one of them to give any idea of what is taught them in their endowments; except a garbled mass of trash. God takes that knowledge from their minds. We have to make devils, and we are preparing them. Everybody must have the same chance for accepting or rejecting the blessings of the gospel, you know. (Brigham Young, JD 4:372)
. . . the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! If thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 137)
Both Satan and Cain bear the titles of “father of lies,” “Perdition,” “master of sin,” and “enemies to all righteousness.” (See Mosiah 4:14.) They are both “the father of secret combinations” and “the father of murder and works of darkness.” (2 Nephi 26:22) They deserve each other. Anyone else who seeks for these same things also will become “sons” of Perdition. Those who have “suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and  defy my power–They are they who are the sons of perdition, … (D & C 76:31-32) They become the “adopted sons” of perdition in the same manner that those who live celestial laws become “sons” of God. The Lord has said “as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, . . .” (D & C 11:30)
When he fell, Satan received a new name, which was Perdition. Cain became a true follower and lover of Perdition and thus became an adopted “son of Perdition.” All those who actively oppose the Kingdom of God also become the adopted sons of Perdition–or sons of the devil. No longer would they be classed as the sons of God and their names would be blotted out of the Lamb’s book of life.
While it was Lucifer who created the kingdom of darkness in the pre-mortal world, it was Cain who created it in this mortal existence. It is no wonder that the devil soon had a faithful representation of his kingdom on the earth. The Prophet Joseph warned the Saints: “In relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God.” And also, “False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets. . . .” (TPJS, p. 365)
From the Rabbinical Literature it is said that Cain claimed the pasture land and the wife of Abel as his birthright and quarreled with him until he murdered his own brother. For his sins he was sent into exile where he was to be inflicted with another punishment every one hundred years. He was called a lawless rebel who said, “There is neither a divine judgment nor a judge.” But he would be judged as the “first of those who have no share in the world to come.” For which he declared, “Too great is my punishment to bear.” (See Jewish Enc. 3:494.)
 Cain cut off all contact with God, sinned against the Holy Ghost, and became a son of Perdition.
- Cain’s Curse
Priesthood is a responsibility, a duty and an obligation which has nothing to do with position or honors of men. The least negligence or carelessness regarding this responsibility could impose severe judgments or curses. History records instances of very distressing and violent results from personal and communal disobedience to laws of the Priesthood.
Some people think of Priesthood as a privilege; others may think of it as a right. But in any case it is separate from the functions and rules of society. It is a vestment from God, mostly a burden placed upon prophets, priests, and patriarchs.
It should be noted that two significant lines resulted from Seth and Cain. One was the Priesthood line and the other was not. The Seth line was a very important genealogical and Priesthood line which continued throughout the Bible story.
Without going outside the Scripture text we may find strong evidence that the narrative under consideration is founded in part upon ancient sources. Let the line of Cain (Gen. 4:17-24) be compared with that of Seth (Gen. 5:1-29):
Adam (“man”) Adam (“man”)
Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-cain Noah
Shem, Ham Japhet
The Heb. forms of the names show even more clearly that Cain = Kenan, Irad = Jared, Methushael = Methuselah; a single transposition, that of the first and third names after Cain, brings the two Enochs together, and likewise the similar names Mehujael and Mahalalel. Thus we have six names nearly or quite identical; seven ancestors in one list and ten in the other, ending in both cases with a branching into three important characters. Resemblances equally certain, though not by any means so obvious, exist between the names in this double list and the names of the ten kings of Babylonia who reigned before the Flood, as the latter are given by Berosus, the Babylonian historian of the 3d cent. BC (see Skinner, Driver, Sayce as below.) Thus one source of which the author in Gen. 4 made use appears to have been an ancient list in genealogical form, by which the first of mankind was linked with the beginnings of civilized institutions and arts. (Intern’l Bible Enc. 1:539)
Cain was about the worse man who ever lived because he deliberately did everything wrong and even seemed to enjoy it. He loved sin more than righteousness; he loved darkness more than light; and he loved the devil more than God. Below are listed only a few of his sins and the resulting curses that came upon him:
- He changed the ordinances of God. The curse for that is to forfeit the celestial kingdom of God.
- He committed murder. The curse for that is unforgivable, placing him no higher than a Telestial place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
- He opposed the Priesthood laws and was cursed with a mark distinguishable by all who would see him or his posterity.
- He refused to listen to God and was thus cursed to no longer receive revelations–except from the devil.
- He denied the Holy Ghost, being cursed as a son of Perdition, placing him in a position worse than having never been born.
Cain was also “cursed from the earth” and “when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength” and also that “a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” (Gen. 4:11-12) And Cain realized from that day the face of the Lord would forever be hid from him, and he remarked, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” (Gen. 4:13)
Following the wonderful revelations from God, Cain must have had a bad day. He got a revelation from Satan who promised him many things in exchange for some favors. Because Cain did so many things for Satan, God put the following three main temporal curses upon him:
- He withheld the ground’s fertility from Cain.
- He condemned Cain to a life of wandering.
- He placed a mark on Cain for all to see.
Some people were cursed in the pre-mortal life, such as the devil and his followers. “the devil has no body, and herein is his punishment.” (TPJS, p. 181) This shows that blessings offered but not received can become a cursing.
“God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses. * * * When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned.” (TPJS, p. 322)
Cain had the greatest blessings offered to him, but turned against all of them. Those who were deceived by Cain in the pre-mortal world were thus born into his lineage in mortality. In the Pre-Existence they must have refused to  accept the responsibility of the Priesthood and were thus forbidden to have it in mortality. A mark upon them specifically signifies that prohibition.
God placed a mark upon Cain and his descendants–a curse that would be seen by everyone. It was a mark to prohibit anyone giving them the Holy Priesthood. The only possible mark that would fit such a curse would be a black skin. When the time came that the descendants of Cain were qualified to receive the Priesthood, the curse would be removed. The mark was more of a restraining period rather than a complete prohibition. Many curses last only for a designated time and then are gone.
Most people on earth do not understand why some people are born black. It has been revealed, however, that those with a black skin are marked with a Priesthood restriction. Yet it is comforting to know that this curse is not a permanent thing, but just a postponement. The following five quotes unquestionably identify this curse as being a black skin:
. . . and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people. (Moses 7:8)
Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. (Brigham Young, JD 7:290)
The Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain and has descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. (John Taylor, Des. News, Apr. 13, 1889)
That mark will be seen upon the face of every Negro upon the face of the earth, and it is the decree of God that that mark shall remain upon the seed of Cain until the seed of Abel shall be redeemed. (History of Wilford Woodruff, p. 351)
When the curse of the Almighty comes upon a people, it certainly is the work of generations to remove it. When Cain brought a curse upon his own head, and that of his household, his after generations bore the same curse. The curse that came upon Canaan, the son of Ham, has extended to a great portion of the human race, and has continued to the present day. (George A. Smith, JD 3:29)
It is written, “And the Lord put a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” (Gen. 4:15) The question has frequently been asked, “What was this mark?” Was it a blue turban, a tattoo, or a nose ring? No, it couldn’t be any of these because they are made by man, not by the Lord. The visible mark placed on Cain was so that if anyone found him, he would immediately recognize this mark and know not to kill him. It would have to have been a very visible and distinctive mark and one that could be passed on to his descendants. This particular curse would come upon a child as soon as or shortly after he was born. Certainly a black skin met these qualifications.
As mentioned, one of the curses God placed on Cain was that “a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” (Gen. 4:12) Some people declare they have seen, and even photographed Cain. Some have called him the “abominable snowman”. One of the early LDS apostles, David W. Patten, also saw him, and this descriptive account follows:
It was probably not long after his arrival in Tennessee in the spring of 1836, that David had one of the most remarkable experiences of his life. He was  making his home with Levi Taylor, the step-father of Abraham O. Smoot, at the time and had been to Paris, some sixteen miles away, holding a meeting. Riding home in the evening, just where his road lay through a dense growth of brush, called in those parts a “barren”, he suddenly became aware that a person on foot by his side was keeping pace with the mule on which he rode.
But the subjoined letter, dated at Provo, Utah, will explain the matter:
President Joseph F. Smith, Salt Lake City:
Dear Brother: In relation to the subject of the visit of Cain to Brother David W. Patten in the State of Tennessee, about which you wrote to me, I will say that according to the best of my recollection it was in the month of September, 1835.
It was in the evening, just twilight, when Brother Patten rode up to my father’s house, alighted from his mule and came into the house. The family immediately observed that his countenance was quite changed. My mother having first noticed his changed appearance said: “Brother Patten, are you sick?” He replied that he was not, but had just met with a very remarkable personage who had represented himself as being Cain, who murdered his brother, Abel. He went on to tell the circumstances as near as I can recall in the following language:
“As I was riding along the road on my mule, I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. He walked along beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he  immediately departed out of my sight. When he left me I found myself near your house.”
There was much conversation about the circumstances between Brother Patten and my family which I don’t recall, but the above is in substance his statement to us at the time. The date is, to the best of my recollection, and I think it is correct, but it may possibly have been in the spring of 1836, but I feel quite positive that the former date is right.
Hope the above will be satisfactory to you and answer your purpose, I am with the kindest regards, as ever,
Your friend and brother,
- O. Smoot
(Life of David W. Patten, L. A. Wilson, pp. 45-47)
I’m sure we cannot comprehend the intensity of Cain’s curse and punishment, for even he said, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” (Gen. 4:13) The Lord spoke of the sons of Perdition going into “everlasting punishment” where “their worm dieth not, and the first is not quenched, which is their torment.” (D & C 76:44) And Joseph Smith talked about God’s punishments for the wicked:
Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be. (TPJS, p. 257)
And where do such people go who are not worthy of even the Telestial Kingdom? God declared:
And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory. (D & C 88:24)
 To be cursed to live forever and ever in a place without any glory would be the ultimate punishment, and such is Cain’s fate because of the extent of his wickedness both in the Pre-Existence and in mortality.
- Cain’s Conspiracy
Although Cain was once a good little boy and enjoyed many spiritual gifts in his early life, he became familiar with the Prince of Darkness, and established a friendship with him that would last forever. Together Cain and Satan plotted and planned their agenda like partners in a great business venture. They made contracts, covenants, and promises which delighted them both–and the world came to their bargaining table. They formed a great secret society, but God was not included.
Since they didn’t like the government and order of God’s Kingdom, they replaced it with a new world order–a term that has a familiar ring today. They needed helpers so they recruited and trained many others, whom they enlisted through bribes, payoffs, and seduction. Deception has always been a pre-dominant tool in establishing and continuing this powerful dominion. And thus, to cover all their bases, they placed loyal servants in leadership positions in every area–economic, social, political and religious.
But why do good people allow such wicked individuals to lead them, both politically and spiritually? And why, when a wise and worthy man comes along, does he get persecuted and rejected? Listen to Joseph Smith:
The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these  had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS, p. 206)
Some who rule are often those who, for some reason, are supposed to rule. For example, even though Moses had the right to rule, unworthy Pharaoh was allowed to remain in control. So to with Nimrod before him and Herod after him–and this situation has continued to our generation with Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. And even here in America, we have had our share of incompetent and unrighteous men in high places.
So again we ask, why do the wicked so often rule in our society? Whenever the Kingdom of God is on the earth, it will always be opposed in some way by the devil. There is a spirit of evil that follows the unrighteous, and the more wicked they become, the more they are led to oppose the things of God. It is that same spirit that directed Cain and Judas. And it is also experienced by apostates who obey it like a robot under remote control.
From apostates the faithful have received the severest persecutions. * * * and they, Judas like, seek the destruction of those who were their greatest benefactors. What nearer friend on earth, or in heaven, had Judas than the Savior? And his first object was to destroy Him. (TPJS, p. 67)
When a man becomes an apostate, he seldom just retires and does nothing. He usually works against the Kingdom of God as diligently as those who are working to build it up. Cain was no exception. In fact, he worked to establish a kingdom so powerful that it would continue to the end of time. “For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, . . .” (Moses 5:51)
 Cain taught the purpose and powers of his secret society to some of his posterity:
Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; * * *
And thus the works of darkness began to prevail among all the sons of men. (Moses 5:49, 55)
This secret combination was a government, a kingdom, but with a most unusual objective. It was not meant to promote something, but to destroy something. The main purpose of this conspiracy was to destroy the Kingdom of God; its motivation was revenge.
Cain was proud to have the title “Master Mahan;” how-ever, we don’t seem to have a literal translation of this term into English. Dr. Hugh Nibley speaks of the “Mahan principle” as the taking of someone’s life for gain. Another interpretation could be a “secret and deceptive conspiracy to steal or kill for gain.” At least Cain promoted these things under that title.
We see him putting his plan into operation when he lays legal claim to the whole earth as his estate, accusing others of trespass, but putting everything up for sale to anyone who has the money. And how will they get the money? By going to work for him. He not only offers employment but of course instruction in how the whole thing works, teaching the ultimate secret; “That great secret” (Moses 5:49-50) of converting life into property. Cain got the degree of Master Mahan, tried the system out on his brother, and gloried in its brilliant success, declaring that at last he could be free, as only property makes free, and that Abel had been a loser in a free competition. (Approaching Zion, Nibley, p. 165)
 Because Satan had no mortal body but Cain did, the Lord told him that he was able to “rule over” Satan. (Moses 5:23) This became an extraordinary plus for Cain. He thought he had the birthright, all power and dominion over the whole earth. He was so happy that he boasted, “Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain.” (Moses 5:31)
Nibley wryly infers that Cain got his Master’s degree in evil. He must have gone on to get a doctorate in devilry. Cain established a conspiracy so perfect that it became a pattern for centuries to come. He was King Cain, the king of conspiracies, and even became Perdition.
It was God who identified Cain and said, “Thou shalt be called Perdition.” (Moses 5:24) He deserved this title because he really wanted it and worked hard for it; he paid the necessary price and finally achieved it. He became so completely enamored with his mentor, the devil, that he began to think, talk, and act like him. Thus, Cain became his beloved son–a true son of Perdition.
The works of Cain were centered on death and economics; and when men conspire to cheat, steal and kill for wealth, they have entered into the realm of Cain’s economic system, the “Mahan principle.” This is certainly not uncommon today.
So ever since the Mahan school of economics was founded, we have had–instead of free gifts–bargains, earnings, percentages, options, returns, markets, investments, deals–which utterly deny the gifts of God. Necessarily–because you cannot have both. They despise the gifts of God, gently or scornfully pushing them aside, . . . (Approaching Zion, Nibley, p. 128)
 Jewish tradition says that the children of Cain “recommended the worship of the sensual powers in preference to the powers above” and “advocated and practiced indulgence in carnal pleasure.” (Jewish Enc. 3:494)
The Ethiopian Book of Adam and Eve and the Syriac Cave of Treasures–both Christianized Melchi-sedician works based upon a genuine Jewish original–relate the story of the fall of the descendants of Seth as “the sons of God” who had lived in purity as saints on the mountain near Eden, following the precept and example of Seth and Enoch, their leaders, but were attracted by the gay and sensuous mode of life in which the children of Cain indulged; the latter spending their days at the foot of the mountain, in wild orgies, accompanied by the music of instruments invented by Jubal, and by women, in gorgeous attire, seducing the men to commit the most abominable practices. In the days of Jared (“descent”) the Sethites (“the sons of God”) went down the hill to join the Cainites, heedless of the warning of Jared; and none of those who walked in the path of sin could come back. This was repeated in the days of Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah: all the admonitions of these saintly leaders did not prevent the fall of the sons of Seth, for whom the daughters of Cain lusted. (The Jewish Enc. 3:494)
In one of the books of the Apocrypha it says that Cain “murdered his brother, for whose cause the earth being drowned with the flood.” (Wisdom 10:3-4) Other sources indicate that it was the conspiracies and corruption of the followers of Cain that brought on the flood:
The seven generations of Cain, as the brood of Satan, are accordingly represented as types of rebels. (Gen. R. xxiii) While the pious men all descended from Seth, there sprang from Cain all the wicked ones who rebelled against God and whose perverseness and corruption brought on the flood. (Jew. Enc. 3:494)
 We can only guess at how corrupt that generation was. All righteous political and religious systems literally broke down. All flesh had become corrupt.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. * * *
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. (Gen. 6:5, 11, 12)
Man had built an empire on the principles of self-destruction!
Some Bible readers may think that the flood was a terrible way to treat mankind. To destroy nearly every man, woman and child in the world seems like “cruel and unusual punishment.” But Parley P. Pratt explained:
He [God] cut them off, root and branch, and blotted their name from under heaven, that there might be an end of a race so degenerate. Now this severity was a mercy. If we were like the people before the flood, full of violence and oppression, or if we, like the Sodomites or Canaanites, were full of all manner of lawless abominations, holding promiscuous intercourse with the other sex, and stooping to a level with the brute creation, and predisposing our children, by every means in our power, to be fully given to strange and unnatural lusts, appetites, and passions, would it not be a mercy to cut us off, root and branch, and thus put an end to our increase upon the earth? You will all say it would. The spirits in heaven would thank God for preventing them from being born into the world under such circumstances. Would not the spirits in heaven rejoice in the covenant and blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in relation to the multiplying of their seed, and in every additional wife which God gave to  them as a means of multiplying? Yes, they would; for they could say, “Now there is an opportunity for us to take bodies in the lineage of a noble race, and to be educated in the true science of life, and in the commandments of God.” O what an unspeakable contrast, between being a child of Sodom, and a child of Abraham! (JD 1:259)
Satan’s kingdom has continually wrought havoc on the Kingdom of God. His unbelievable evil power has almost always been able to destroy the work and kingdom of God on earth by means of persecution or conspiracy.
 Chapter 16
SETH: THE KINGDOM RENEWED
Very little is written in the Bible or other historical records about Seth. We do know he was a righteous son of Adam and Eve, born after Cain killed Abel.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. (Gen. 5:3)
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And God revealed himself unto Seth, and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice, like unto his brother Abel. (Moses 6:2-3)
And according to Josephus:
Now this Seth, when he was brought up and came to those years in which he could discern what was good, became a virtuous man; and as he was himself of an excellent character, so did he leave children behind him who imitated his virtues. All these proved to be of good dispositions. They also inhabited the same country without dissensions, and in a happy condition, without any misfortunes falling upon them till they died. They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their order. (Antiquities, Bk. 1, Ch. 2, Para. 3)
 As mentioned, the rivalry between Cain and Abel represented a battle between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. But after Cain killed Abel, the Kingdom of God seemed to be in jeopardy. The forces of evil seemed to have triumphed on earth.
But temporal victories on earth do not necessarily mean victories over spiritual things. The death of a prophet of God has never been a lasting triumph for Satan. At the crucifixion of Christ, it seemed that Christianity would also die. But instead it flourished even more. It was once stated that “the blood of the Christians was seed for the Church.” The more Christians were killed, the more their members increased. Enemies of the early LDS Church also thought the death of Joseph Smith would be the end of Mormonism, but time has certainly proved otherwise.
These events can be compared to the fires that burn through the forests of great redwood trees. From out of the ashes come little shoots of new trees. The fires served to crack open the seeds so that moisture and earth could reach them and produce a new generation of those magnificent sentinels.
Likewise, the death of great men does not mean death to the Kingdom of God. Knowing all things, God prepares a contingency for His work on earth, and after the death of Abel, came another righteous son to carry on in his place.
The raising of children in those days was more than having a growing posterity, but also a continuation of Priesthood. The “expression of Eve, after the birth of Seth, mentioned in the same chapter, goes to show the continuation of the priesthood.” (Times & Seasons 2:298) Seth was a representative of that Priesthood.
 We learn a little more about the character and priesthood of Seth from more recent scriptures:
From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of sixty-nine, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam’s) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth;
Because he (Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things, and could be distinguished from him only by his age. (D & C 107:42-43)
There were certain rights and traditions that followed the Priesthood in those days, as explained in the Times & Seasons:
The practice of blessing the heirs of the chosen seed, can be seen from the earliest ages. When Seth was born, his name appears to have been called so, because God had appointed another “seed” in the place of Abel, whom Cain slew. (T & S 6:906)
In the fifth chapter of Genesis, after Adam and Seth, first born only are named, in the history of priesthood to Noah: which explains, 1st Chronicles 5:1–that the eldest had a right to the priesthood, like unto the Son of God: hence they were called “Sons of God.” (T & S 2:298-99)
John Taylor mentioned more about the sons of Adam and Eve:
By and by another seed was raised up to Adam, namely Seth, to stand in the place of Abel. “For God (said Eve) hath appointed for me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” And he became the representative of God, as Adam was the representative of  God. He took Abel’s place as the representative of God and the laws of God; and he had revelation, and the Priesthood, and the Gospel, and was acquainted with the principle of truth. (JD 26:89)
What next? We find the powers of darkness beginning to prevail in the hearts of fallen man. For instance, the first two living sons, one of them killed the other and was a murderer. What a prospect; how the devil would laugh, saying, “Since Cain has slain his brother Abel, there is no son remaining but a murderer, so what becomes of your kingdom? But God made unto Adam another son named Seth, who represented the interests of his father and the interests of God. (JD 18:328)
Although there are the “inherent” rights belonging to the Priesthood and also “heirship” rights, there was an exception in the case of Cain and Seth. Although Cain was the “eldest” and a rightful “heir,” these rights were by-passed because of his unworthiness and rebellion. Priesthood cannot continue with unrighteousness, changed ordinances, and broken covenants; so Cain lost his rights and Seth inherited them instead.
Erastus Snow explained:
The same principle fell upon Adam’s children; and hence Cain, being the first-born of his father’s family, according to the Bible account, might have been the head of his Priesthood, under his father, holding the right by birth; but instead of exercising his birthright on the principles of righteousness, and in accord with the powers of heaven, he was befogged and understood not his true position; and his offering was not accepted. But Abel, his younger brother, who was meek and lowly of heart, and who sought the inspiration of the Spirit, was led to bring as his offering the firstlings of his flock, which were a true representation of the Lamb of God; and besides, the offering was made in the true  spirit of his ministry and priesthood; therefore it pleased the Father, and he accepted it. Then when Cain found that his offering was not accepted, and his brother, Abel’s was accepted, Satan tempted him, and entered into him and led him into the way of all apostates–he became possessed with the spirit of murder. I mention it as the first apostasy of which we have record after the fall of man. Through it Cain lost his privilege as first-born, and the blessing fell on one more worthy, and the rights of the Priesthood passed to the next son of Adam, which according to Bible record was Seth, who magnified the Priesthood, honored his birthright, and held the blessing of the Priesthood, which was sealed upon him by his father; and from him it descended upon the righteous of his posterity. (JD 21:370)
It has been stated by John Taylor that Shem, the son of Seth, was Melchizedek, which is also evident in Hebrew tradition. Furthermore, it has been said that Seth, with his son Shem, built the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Nevertheless, Seth had a righteous posterity, but unfortunately he witnessed them gradually turn away from the Gospel, the Priesthood, and the Kingdom of God. Josephus tells us:
Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers, and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness; whereby they made God to be their enemy. (Antiquities, Bk. 1, Ch. 3, Para. 1)
Dr. Hugh Nibley also commented:
In the beginning an ambitious race of men tried to get to heaven by climbing a mountain or tower; they failed and then set out to conquer the world. A thoroughly typical version of the story is a variant found in Jewish and Christian apocryphal writers in which the sons of Seth (the angels, in some versions), eager to regain the paradise Adam had lost, went up on to Mount Hermon, and there lived lives of religious asceticism, calling themselves “the Watchers” and “the Sons of Elohim.” It was an attempt to establish the heavenly order, and it failed, the embittered colony descending the mountain to break the covenant, marry the daughters of Cain, and beget a race of “men notorious for murders and robberies.” Determined to possess the earth if they could not possess heaven, the men of the mountain denied that they had failed, faked the priesthood, and forced the inhabitants of the earth to accept the kings they put over them. (Lehi in the Desert. . . , p. 164)
Scriptures and history show that there has been a continual rise and fall from righteousness to wickedness; from creating great societies to causing their destruction; and from the Kingdom of God to the kingdom of the devil.
Seth was a witness of such events in his lifetime and among his own children. He must have been very proud of them during the first few generations and then probably crushed to tears as he watched their increasing wickedness. He lived to be 912 years old. He walked and talked with God. He knew the greatest of all men on earth at that time and saw the worst of their children. He was a perfect witness of both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil.
Although mankind was on the road to apostasy and becoming totally corrupt, God would once again choose another to honor the Priesthood and help build the Kingdom of God. The story will continue in the next volume of this series.
 Chapter 17
The principles of the Gospel, of the Holy Priesthood, and of the Kingdom of God are always the same. And as we continue this study in subsequent volumes on the Kingdom of God, we will see how it is in constant conflict with the kingdom of the devil.
In his kingdom, the devil continues his work of destruction, while the work of God’s Kingdom is constructive and upbuilding. Although many will fall in battle, we know that God and His valiant soldiers will eventually win the war. To all those who obtain and live by a testimony of divine truth, God has promised His blessings, protection, and love. And He will save those who do their part in building up His Kingdom.
It is by living those beautiful and eternal principles of the Gospel that God will open the visions of eternity, bring happiness to the beholder, and crown him with everlasting joy. For such is the work and destiny of the Kingdom of God.