Printer-friendly version

Does the LDS Church teach that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers?

The idea that Jesus is the spirit brother of Satan sounds rather shocking. But is this still the LDS Church’s teaching? Yes, as the description of Jesus and Satan as 'both sons' of Heavenly Father makes clear.

The LDS Church correctly identifies Jesus Christ as “Jehovah,” which was the name of God in the Old Testament (Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18). At the same time, however, Mormons are taught that Jesus Christ was simply the firstborn of Heavenly Father’s billions of spirit sons and daughters living in heaven. These spirit children included all those who would become human beings on earth as well as all of the rebellious spirits (demons) who would not have the opportunity to live mortal lives on earth.

Among these spirit offspring of Heavenly Father, according to LDS teaching, is Lucifer, known since his rebellion as Satan. As quoted above, Gospel Principles clearly refers to Jesus and Satan both as “sons” of Heavenly Father. This means, of course, that they are brothers. Earlier editions of Gospel Principles (from 1978 through 2008) stated this explicitly:

Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother, Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said, “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27)…. Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came… (Gospel Principles [1997 ed.], 17-18)

The new edition of Gospel Principles omits this reference to Jesus and Satan as “two of our brothers.” No doubt, the editors omitted these words because the idea that Jesus is the spirit brother of Satan sounds rather shocking. But is this still the LDS Church’s teaching? Yes, as the description of Jesus and Satan as “both sons” of Heavenly Father makes clear.

Some well-known LDS leaders have confirmed this to be Mormon doctrine. Spencer W. Kimball, for example, stated that when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, “a momentous contest took place between two brothers, Jehovah and Lucifer, sons of Elohim…. Satan, also a son of God, had rebelled and had been cast out of heaven and not permitted an earthly body as had his brother Jehovah” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball [1982], 34). The LDS Church’s official website includes an article that states, “Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers.”

The LDS doctrine that Jesus and Satan (also known as Jehovah and Lucifer) are spirit brothers does not mean, of course, that they are at all alike morally. Mormons clearly understand Jesus to be sinless, holy, and perfectly good, while Satan is rebellious, wicked, and thoroughly evil. However, the Mormon doctrine does mean that Jesus and Satan started out, at least, as the exact same kind of being. Both of them were spirit sons of Heavenly Father, with the same nature and the same potential. The LDS website article just quoted explains that what made Jesus and Lucifer become such different beings was that they made different choices: “How could two such great spirits become so totally opposite? The answer lies in the principle of agency…. That brothers would make dramatically different choices is not unusual. It has happened time and again.”

Yet the Bible never suggests that Satan was ever, in any sense, the same kind of being as Jesus Christ. Jesus, in fact, is the maker of all angels (including Satan, the first fallen angel) and of everything else (John 1:3; Col. 1:16). Since Christ has always been God, even before creation (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5), he has always been the superior of Lucifer and everyone and everything else in God’s creation.