Do Mormons Believe That Jesus and Satan Are Brothers?


In order to keep this blog somewhat relevant, I spend more time than I used to reading criticisms of the LDS Church.  These range from misstatements due to clumsy research in the mainstream media to the foaming-at-the-mouth, Mormons-are-going-to-eat-your-children type of stuff coming from the fringes.  In doing so, I have noticed that some of the same sound-bite attacks are thrown up repeatedly, often with little explanation of what the complaint is really about.

One example of this is the one-sentence indictment:  “Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers!”  Apparently that statement standing alone is proof positive that Mormons are nutballs, so no explanation is needed as to why.

Before we talk about what Mormons really believe, let me rhetorically throw a couple of questions back at the critics:  Who is this Satan guy, anyway?  Is there some traditional Christian doctrine regarding the identity and history of Satan that Mormon doctrine offends?

My understanding always has been that Christians generally believe that Satan (or Lucifer, the devil, or any other host of names for him) is a fallen angel.  He and other angels rebelled against God and were cast out of Heaven.  That much, at least, can be derived from the Bible, in which the prophet Isaiah writes:  “How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!   how are 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 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.”  (Isa. 14:12-15).

Beyond that, the Bible gives us little of Satan’s origin story.  The nature of the devil is so unclear from the Bible that in some Christian traditions he has all of the trappings of a creature of Norse mythology, with animal-like features.  Most thinking Christians, I assume, reject the pointed-tail picture of Satan, but it is unclear what they replace it with.

Just taking the passage from Isaiah, we should be able to get a few hints about the nature of the Adversary (the English word closest to “Satan.”)  First, at some point he dwelled with God in Heaven.  Second, he had some level of prestige, reflected by the title “Son of the Morning.”  Third, he was cast out of Heaven because he sought to make himself equal to or greater than God.

Mormons believe all three of those things.  So far, so good.  But we also believe that all of us who live on Earth existed before this life as spirits, dwelling with our Father in Heaven.  So all of us are children of God, the eldest and greatest of whom was Jesus Christ.  He was chosen before he came to this Earth to be the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, and the Savior and Redeemer of mankind.

Everyone’s still with me, right?

Well, here is the kicker:  We believe that Satan was one of those spirits.  He sought to take the glory of God for himself and consequently was cast out of Heaven, along with the spirits who followed him.  He became Satan, Lucifer, the devil…the adversary of Christ and man, still determined to stir up rebellion and hatred against God.

So, yeah, as one of the spirits who lived in the presence of God, Satan was Jesus’s “brother,” in the same sense that any of us would be Jesus’s brother or sister.  If you assume that God created everything, including our spirits, that conclusion really is inescapable.  If Satan as an “angel,” as the “Son of the Morning,” was not God’s creation, then who created him?  If he did not once dwell in the presence of God, then where did he fall from?

In my mind, what makes Satan the devil is that he is the personification of abomination, which in the religious context frequently carries the sense of something good turned evil.  Satan is worse than an adversary:  He is a traitor.  He has personally witnessed the perfect love and majesty of God and wilfully rebelled against it.  If he were just some shmuck with a pitchfork, he would not represent such a great evil, just as Judas’s crime against Christ would not have been so ugly if he were just a member of the crowd instead of a trusted apostle.

So the sense in which Mormons believe that Satan is Jesus’s brother is neither a slight to Jesus nor a compliment to Satan.  We certainly do not contend that Satan was ever Christ’s equal, nor do we believe that he ever was “Begotten” of God in the same way that Christ was.  Rather, Satan is the most tragic of figures, a being who wilfully and knowingly rebelled against God, and surrendered every blessing for which we, through the mercy of Christ, still have hope.

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17 Responses to “Do Mormons Believe That Jesus and Satan Are Brothers?”


  1. 1 Steph May 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    My understanding of the criticism has to do with the belief that Christ’s role was Lucifer’s creator…not “brother”. The Bible refers to “The Word” being with God (1 John 1:1) from the beginning. And even in the story of the creation being refered to in the plural “let US make man in OUR” image. So, I think the confusion and criticism stems from there. Explaining that Christ is/was out Fathers eldest son confirms Christ’s existence before Lucifer. However, I think a more important point to address is if Christ’s relationship to Lucifer is simply “brother”…or if it is also Lord/God. Certainly, those of us outside the LDS faith understand the role and importance of Christ to the Church (well those of us with even slightly open minds at least) and therefore know that this belief isn’t meant to pin Lucifer as Christ’s equal. But is Christ Lucifer’s creator? That, at least to me, is a more important question.

    • 2 R.S. "Rob" Ghio May 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      I think I follow you, and the issue really is about how we use the term “Creator.” Fundamental to Mormon belief is that Christ is the Creator of the heavens and the Earth. This is one of the first things taught in the temple. As to our spirits, they were “created” by our Father in Heaven. Christ is the Firstborn, and is a member of the Godhead. Satan never was. His relationship to Jesus is no different than ours, except that we are part of His earthly creation, and Satan is not.
      I think the bigger challenge is for other denominations to explain the nature of their relationship and to explain how they got those answers. If it is not explicitly set forth in the Bible, and it isn’t, then somebody has had a revelation, which is also supposed to be taboo.
      Curiously, my understanding of the opening verses of the Gospel of John is that they were part of an early Christian hymn, inserted later as an introduction to the book. That’s at least a current reading. Which raises all kinds of questions about its doctrinal bona fides. That interpretation could be a bunch of hooey, but it shows how challenging it is to get caught up in the specific language of the Bible. You often end up back where you started.
      Thanks again for the comment.

  2. 3 Christopher C. Randolph May 22, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    The slight to Jesus is that Mormons do not believethat He is God. This post displayed that perfectly since Jesus is placed in heaven as another occupant instead of the Creator. That is the is the issue with the Jesus and Satan being brothers belief. It denies the divinity of Jesus Christ.

    Christopher

    • 4 R.S. "Rob" Ghio May 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      You are reading something very different from what I wrote. By no means was Christ “just another occupant of Heaven.” Not sure what you have been told, but Mormons teach that one of Christ’s roles…as God…was as the Creator. That is in the missionary discussions and in any lesson manual of the Church. Search “Christ” and “creator” on LDS.org and you can verify that.

      • 5 Christopher C. Randolph May 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm

        Then He and the adversary are not brothers, then. You can’t have it both ways.

        Answer this straight up and I will go to LDS.org to verify. Is Jesus God? As in the second person of the Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. All three equal and One. Yes or No?

        Your post implied intimated that you do not adhere to the above is why I am asking, nevermind what other Mormons and exMormons have told me.

        Christopher

      • 6 Christopher C. Randolph May 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm

        Went to LDS.org and found a proclamation that Mormons hold to a nonBiblical, unChristian version of the Trinity. Mormonism wrongly divides them into three seperat beings. I read your post correctly, then. You donot, in fact believe that Jesus is God. Mormonism is not Christian. And that denegration of Jesus is the greatest affront to our Lord.

        Thanks for the link. God Bless,

        Christopher

      • 7 R.S. "Rob" Ghio May 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm

        I’ve already addressed this issue, Christopher, in another post about the Trinity. No, we do not accept the Nicene view of the Trinity, and if you read that post, you will have an understanding of why. If your definition of “Christian” relies on acceptance of the Creeds, then we don’t meet that definition. Just as if someone else’s definition of “Christian” relies upon acceptance of the doctrine of Original Sin, you would not be a Christian, based on what is in your own blog. I frankly think the entire question of whether Mormons are Christians eventually devolves into a circular argument, because once we satisfy one definition, another is posited in its place. In this blog, I’ve addressed several of these definitions, and will address more as time passes. But no matter what I do, people who operate from the assumption that we are not Christian, no matter what we say or do, will never be satisfied. I can live with that.

        That said, you must not have read my introduction to this blog. This blog is a place where these issues are discussed in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you are looking for a fight, you have come to the wrong place. But telling me that my beliefs are “the greatest affront” to the Lord that I revere and worship, the Lord after whom I imperfectly try to model my life, and whom I have dedicated my life to serve is presumptuous and insulting. I don’t agree with much of what I have seen on your blog, but I do not question the sincerity of your convictions or your devotion to Christ. I would, however, think that people who profess to bear His name as Christians should be able to speak to each other with civility and mutual respect.

      • 8 Ryan Hawkins May 25, 2012 at 6:43 am

        Christopher, is your most recent post claiming that rejecting the “Trinity concept” is rejecting the divinity of Jesus Christ? You obviously missed Rob’s point that the Trinity doctrine WAS the result of the Nicene Creed – so this IS a creedal issue. I don’t know who decided this “creedal issue” was a non-negotiable issue in the claim to Christianity, but Jesus clearly didn’t get to vote in that decision. A person can certainly accept the divinity of Jesus Christ and his role as the Son of God, as Savior and Redeemer, as the promised Messiah, as Creator, as Alpha & Omega, as Judge, etc…all while rejecting the Trinitarian view of his relationship to the Father and the Holy Ghost. That’s exactly what Mormons do. Sorry if that excludes Mormons from being in your “club” — just be careful not to crucify Christ if he shows up and rejects some of the things you are teaching about him.

  3. 9 tonybrigmon May 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Great article. Great replies. Thank you.

    • 10 tonybrigmon May 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

      Rob, our Savior and Friend Jesus Christ said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

      You have given a Christian response to a non-Christian attack here.

      There is no reasoning with those who purport to be Christians, but then choose to not act like one. I salute you for not taking a “thorns and thistles” approach here in your replies, but instead a Christian one.

      1 Corinthians 11:16 – But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

      You’ve made it clear this site is not here to promote contention, just understanding and good will. If a person seeks contention rather than understanding, this site is just not for them.

      But some are irresistibly attracted to the thorns and thistles of contention.

      They’ll just have to find that elsewhere. Everything you’ve written points to the fact you are indeed a true follower of Jesus Christ, and not ashamed to admit it.

      People are the way they are until they’re not. We can all become one in Christ as we look to Him and do what He would do and say what He would say.

      Keep shining and posting great articles. Thank you.

  4. 11 Steph May 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I haven’t noticed all the replies on here. My goodness there are some interesting ones here. I am unsure of the religious views of others on here, other than Rob himself and now Christopher. I suppose I can see myself as somewhat of an unbiased opinion, as I do not completely relate to either.

    First. If Mormons are “unChristian” as you put it, Christopher, and in your mind they are indeed headed for peril, then wouldn’t you consider it a duty to witness? Now…I must point out that the key to good and proper evangelism is two fold. The first being know what you believe and why. The second is more complicated: Know what your audience believes and why. It is not enough to simply say “You’re wrong, I’m right. Have fun in hell.” Tell me, how many people have you reached and successfully witnessed to with this method?

    Second. The definition of “Christian” has changed and evolved throughout the history of the church (non-specific). However, one theme is always present…Jesus is Lord, died for the sins of the world, rose again, and thereby paid our way into eternal life. This being the earliest recorded definition, given my Christ himself. Your definition of Christianity comes from the Nicene Creed, which with all due respect, was put together by men, claiming to be inspired by God. Sound familiar?

    It is not enough to reject claims made by others simply on the fact that they have come up with a different interpretation than your own. It isn’t enough to call Joseph Smith a loon just because he claimed to have revelation of God in the 19th century. What makes God less available to those living in the 19th century than those in 500BC? Saying “God couldn’t do that or wouldn’t do that” is putting Him in a box formed by our own extraordinary minds. You have to figure out the why behind all the things you have claimed, and also, the things Rob has claimed. If you reject a notion presented here based on the why rather than because it doesn’t fit into some prescribed notion of what Christianity should be, then you have a valid claim.

    There are a few things I have learned about the LDS church that puzzle me, that I am unable to fit into my understanding of the Gospel. However, there are also several things about mainstream Christianity that fit the same criteria. That being said…I would be the first person to jump up and call myself a Christian. Do I fit into a denomination? No. A particular church? No. A historical definition? No.

    But my foundational beliefs about Christ and God’s plan for mankind, as well as my dedication and sincerity in my desire to follow Christ as closely as I can qualify me for such a title, in my opinion. The quest for truth and knowledge is sometimes the most important part of our lives as Christians. But if we pretend we have nothing to learn from one another, then we’ve completely missed the mark as to what it means to yearn for God,

    • 12 R.S. "Rob" Ghio May 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Steph, you’re my new best friend. And exactly the type of person this blog is for–folks with honest interest. I do appreciate your comments.

      I’d be interested to know what areas of LDS doctrine don’t “fit” in your mind or are puzzling. Obviously, such puzzles have become my passion.

  5. 14 Felicity August 11, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I just read through the questions and comments, and was impressed with the LDS and Non-LDS responses. I just wanted to bring to light this. God is the father, and in Genesis it read God created the heavens and the earth (Therefore Jesus wasn’t the creator.) It also says that God wasthe father of Jesus Christ and Jesus was his only begotten son. (Therefore Jesus and Lucifer couldn’t be brothers). According to the bible we have God the father and his Son Jesus Christ (therefore making them 2 individuals.) Add the holy ghost and now we have 3 individuals not 1. LDS or Morman’s are Christians. The LDS church is called ” The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter day Saint. And every prayer said by an LDS member ends with “ In the name Of Jesus Christ Amen!” Christians believe in CHRIST,( and dedicate their lives to him for his sacrifice,) They believe in the holy ghost (a gift given to all that receive him,) as well as worship God the father (as we shall have no other God before him). LDS believe the same, and live the same.

    No one will ever have the same opinion on religion, and what ever church or religion you belong to, to you it,s the only true church or religion. What is important is one’s personal relationship with God our father, his son Jesus Christ, and the holy ghost. One should concern himself for his good deeds, or shortcomings, and work on them, as well as their personal relationship with God and Christ. In the end YOU will be judged on your actions and beliefs, not on the beliefs, or actions of others.

    It is important to respect the free will,and belief, of others, and to always have an open mind to others opinions. You don’t have to believe the same, but at least respect the others stance. Judge not least ye be Judged. Telling others they are wrong based on their belief or response is wrong in it’s self, as to them they are right. One gift from God is Free will! Leave the Judging to God. We must never force our beliefs or opinions on anyone as we certainly don’t want them forced on us.

    Find peace in your heart for all those that love our father, his son and the holy ghost. Our father loves us all unconditionally. On a final note GOD does Not like ugly. Don’t allow your heart to become ugly to your brothers and sisters just because the have an independent thought or belief. May God bless you all.

    • 15 R.S. "Rob" Ghio August 12, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Felicity. One thing you and I can agree on is that folks need to be much more concerned about what they are doing than what the guy next door is doing.

      To clarify LDS belief just a bit, we believe that before coming to earth, Jesus was Jehovah, the God of the New Testament. We believe that God the Father directed the creation of the Earth, but that he delegated the actual creation to His son. That, in our view, explains the curious use of the plural “Gods” in the early chapters of Genesis.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond.

  6. 16 Brother Jon October 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Reblogged this on Brother Jon and commented:
    Great article about a question that comes up often. I’m so happy there are guys like Rob who can answer and explain these things.

    The comments are good too.

  7. 17 A Gripping Life October 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Oh wow. I’m happy Rob is out there, too.
    I have heard, in simpler terms, God, the Father, is the architect and Jesus Christ, His son, is the builder. So, God the Father delegated to His Son, the creation of our world. I also fully understand and accept that we are all brothers and sisters – spirit children of our Heavenly Father. The Savior is not my Father, he’s my older perfect brother, my redeemer and Savior, who came to this mortal existence to atone for our sins so that we could return to our Father in heaven. He was the only one of us who was perfect and could therefore take upon Him the sins of the world. Likewise, I believe that Satan or Lucifer, is also one of God’s children, along with 1/3 of the host of heaven, who was rebellious and was denied an earthly body.
    As a parent I find it comforting that even Heavenly Father’s children can lose their way. I look at God, our Heavenly Father, as the perfect parent and perfect example. He loves us, and knows us well. He’s given us our agency so that we may be spiritually challenged and grow while away from His side. He’s given us everything we need so that we may return to live with Him. The greatest being, His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who would atone for our sins.
    Another great post, Rob. You explain things very clearly and with a pure intention, which definitely comes across. 🙂


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