Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mike Huckabee on Jesus and Lucifer

From Fox News:

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks in an upcoming article, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

The article, to be published in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, says Huckabee asked the question after saying he believes Mormonism is a religion but doesn't know much about it. His rival Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is a member of the Mormon church, which is known officially as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The authoritative Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in 1992, does not refer to Jesus and Satan as brothers. It speaks of Jesus as the son of God and of Satan as a fallen angel, which is a Biblical account.

A spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Huckabee's question is usually raised by those who wish to smear the Mormon faith rather than clarify doctrine.

We turn now to LDS authorities. From Utah Lighthouse Ministries:

Apostle Joseph F. Merrill: "Now there is another personality of which I desire to speak, ... that person is Satan, the Devil. But according to our understanding and teaching, Satan is a person with a spirit body, in form like that of all other men. He is a spirit brother of ours and of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Elder Brother in the spirit world. The earth was in course of development for the abode of man in mortality. A Redeemer was to be sent down and make it possible for the Father's children to return to him." (LDS Conference Report, April 1949, p. 27)

Apostle Joseph Young: "Who is it that is at the head of this? It is the Devil, the mighty Lucifer, the great prince of the angels, and the brother of Jesus. He left the province of his Father, and took with him a third part of his Father's kingdom, and there was no other alternative but to banish him. God would have saved him if he could; but he could not." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, pp. 207-208, October 11, 1857)

President Spencer Kimball: "The importance of not accommodating temptation in the least degree is underlined by the Savior's example. Did not he recognize the danger when he was on the mountain with his fallen brother, Lucifer, being sorely tempted by that master tempter? He could have opened the door and flirted with danger by saying, "All right, Satan, I'll listen to your proposition. I need not succumb, I need not yield, I need not accept—but I'll listen." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 163)

See also a response to the claim from the LDS website itself, their official publication, Ensign Magazine, second question down.:

How can Jesus and Lucifer be spirit brothers when their characters and purposes are so utterly opposed?

Jess L. Christensen, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, June 1986, 25–26

Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel “who was in authority in the presence of God,” a “son of the morning.” (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)

How could two such great spirits become so totally opposite? The answer lies in the principle of agency, which has existed from all eternity. (See D&C 93:30–31.) Of Lucifer, the scripture says that because of rebellion “he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies.” (Moses 4:4.) Note that he was not created evil, but became Satan by his own choice.

When our Father in Heaven presented his plan of salvation, Jesus sustained the plan and his part in it, giving the glory to God, to whom it properly belonged. Lucifer, on the other hand, sought power, honor, and glory only for himself. (See Isa. 14:13–14; Moses 4:1–2.) When his modification of the Father’s plan was rejected, he rebelled against God and was subsequently cast out of heaven with those who had sided with him. (See Rev. 12:7–9; D&C 29:36–37.)

That brothers would make dramatically different choices is not unusual. It has happened time and again, as the scriptures attest: Cain chose to serve Satan; Abel chose to serve God. (See Moses 5:16–18.) Esau “despised his birthright”; Jacob wanted to honor it. (Gen. 25:29–34.) Joseph’s brothers sought to kill him; he sought to preserve them. (Gen. 37:12–24; Gen. 45:3–11.)

It is ironic that the agency with which Lucifer rebelled is the very gift he tried to take from man. His proposal was that all be forced back into God’s presence. (See Moses 4:1, 3.) But the principle of agency is fundamental to the existence and progression of intelligent beings: as we make wise choices, we grow in light and truth. On the other hand, wrong choices—such as the one Satan made—stop progress and can even deny us blessings that we already have. (See D&C 93:30–36.)

In order for us to progress, therefore, we must have the opportunity to choose good or evil. Interestingly, Satan and his angels—those who opposed agency—have become that opposition. As the prophet Lehi taught, “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 Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Ne. 2:27.)

Although the Father has allowed Satan and his angels to tempt mankind, he has given each of us the ability to rise above temptation. (See 1 Cor. 10:13.) He has also given us the great gift of the Atonement.

When the Lord placed enmity between Eve’s children and the devil, Satan was told that he would bruise the heel of Eve’s seed, but her seed would bruise his head. (See Moses 4:21.) President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “the ‘God of peace,’ who according to the scriptures is to bruise Satan, is Jesus Christ.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957, 1:3.) Satan would bruise the Savior’s heel by leading men to crucify Him. But through his death and resurrection, Christ overcame death for all of us; and through his atonement, he offers each of us a way to escape the eternal ramifications of sin. Thus, Satan’s machinations have been frustrated and eventually he will be judged, bound, and cast into hell forever. (See Rev. 20:1–10; D&C 29:26–29.)

In Hebrew, the word bruise means “to crush or grind.” Therefore, the very heel that was bruised will crush Satan and will help us overcome the world and return to our Father. As we use our agency to choose good over evil, the atonement of Christ prepares the way for us to return to our Father in Heaven.

We can only imagine the sorrow of our Heavenly Father as he watched a loved son incite and lead a rebellion and lose his opportunity for exaltation. But we can also imagine the Father’s love and rejoicing as he welcomed back the beloved son who had valiantly and perfectly fought the battles of life and brought about the great Atonement through his suffering and death.

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At December 12, 2007 9:39 AM, Blogger Elbeau said...

This is outrageous!

I'm proud to be an American Mormon, and I was even engaged in blogging on Huckabee's behalf for a while.

This man is basing his entire campaign on two things:

1. The fact that evangelicals see Guiliani, the only other real contender, as morally bankrupt.

2. The fact that evangelicals are scared of Mormonism.

Reason #1 represents moral values and is fair game in an election.

Reason #2 is in-my-face bigotry against my religion.

When Huckabee had only the smallest spending budget for Iowa, he used it to display a TV commercial touting himself as a "Christian Leader"...knowing full well the debate that we Mormons have with the evangelicals about the term "Christian".

Two days ago he went to Salt Lake City to declare that we need to "reclaim America for Christ".

He told the media that Romney needs to explain whether his religion is a cult.

Now he's reading anti-Mormon talking points to the press.

This man is directly attacking my civil rights. Growing up Mormon I've put up with a lot of crap from evangelicals, but such is life. What I will not do is stand by while a contender who wants to be my president wants also to make me a less-worthy citizen than his own so-called faith. There's no excuse for it. This man is the scum of the earth, but because he spouts his filth from a pulpit, the evangelicals come running.

At December 12, 2007 10:16 AM, Blogger Frank said...

The idea that you consider a discussion of Mormons an attack on your civil rights is precisely why the evangelicals fear putting a Mormon in the White House. Or, maybe they know what Mormons teach about the conception of Jesus. Or, maybe what Mormons teach concerning about becoming gods.

Perhaps you could set the evangelicals straight by properly teaching us here what dogmatically is actually taught at the temple level of the Mormon church.

At December 12, 2007 10:42 AM, Blogger Elbeau said...

"a discussion of Mormons"?...LOL...we're knocking on your doors all the time looking for that.

What is reprehensible is making religious tenets a prequalification for political office. I don't care how wacky you think I am. I do care that I am not relegated to the political sidelines because other people with more votes don't like my religion.

I have been a republican my entire life, but what I am finding is that I belong to a party that will indeed let Rosa Parks sit in the front of the long as she's a protestant.

At December 12, 2007 11:56 AM, Blogger Frank said...

I agree with you that one’s faith shouldn’t come into play when running for an office. And just because one is protestant certainly doesn’t guarantee expected results as those who voted for Bush found out on many an occasion on a variety of issues.

However, when one says he believes in Jesus, I don’t think it’s out of bounds to ask what does that mean? If Huckabee was asked “do you think Mormonism is a cult?”, if he is true to his faith, he must say yes and then, that is part of the national dialogue.

If all were playing fair, Obama would have to answer many a question because of his associations.

Just so you know that I’m an equal opportunity offender, I also don’t think it would it would be out of bounds to ask Huckabee what his stance on Israel is and how his faith effects what he will do concerning Israel because of Baptist’s instance of establishing and earthly kingdom so that Christ can return for judgment.

At December 13, 2007 7:13 AM, Blogger DB said...

Quoting Frank...

"Perhaps you could set the evangelicals straight by properly teaching us here what dogmatically is actually taught at the temple level of the Mormon church."

Ya, Elbeau, why don't you Mormons just shove your beliefs down everyones throats like true Christians? ;-)

(Sorry, Frank walked right into that one!)

At December 13, 2007 8:11 AM, Blogger The Heresy Hunter said...

And to think I used to think Mormons were so warm and friendly! At least you're not denying the point of this post, namely that Huckabee was right!

At December 13, 2007 9:00 AM, Blogger Frank said...

I don’t think that pushing a set of beliefs is a good idea for anyone. Mormons are very good at not shoving their theology down anyone’s throat. But, I do think a discussion on civil righteousness is in order simply because we might not be aware of what Mormons believe concerning this subject.
Herr Hunter’s comment brings us back to the original topic, that according to a question posed by Huckabee, the Mormon faith teaches Jesus and Lucifer are both created beings and brothers. If this is the case, what are the ramifications for us today of Jesus’ earthly ministry and death on a cross? What this means for us in my point is unclear as the Mormon view is unclear.
That is why a frank and civil discussion would be a good thing, wouldn’t it? I mean, at no time did I call anybody “wacky” or try to “shove your beliefs down everyones throats” did I? I certainly didn’t make any snide comments other than state that the evangelicals might not be happy with their choice, President Bush.


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