The Mormon Doctrine of Pre-Mortal Life
Mormons believe that all of us are eternal beings, and that we lived as the spirit children of Heavenly Father before we obtained mortal bodies through our earthly parents. God is the Father of all of our spirits. Mormons believe that God created all things spiritually before He created them physically upon the earth.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God [the spirit children of God the Father], we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world [before the Creation, in the premortal realm], that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
Before I formed thee in the belly [before conception] I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb [before being born into mortality] I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Mormons believe that God taught us of His plan of salvation for us, especially that Christ, through whom all the worlds were created, would atone for our sins and provide a way for our salvation. We all shouted for joy at receiving this news. Everyone who has ever lived on this earth, or who will ever live, supported Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in this plan, although Satan and his followers rejected it and were cast out.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [God indicts Satan with these rhetorical questions, pointing out that Satan in his rebellion took no part in the creation and was not among those loyal “morning stars” and “sons of God” who “shouted for joy” when the corner stone of creation was laid. More to the point in this discussion, all these events clearly took place in a premortal realm—a realm in which the “sons of God” lived before the earth and Adam and Eve were created.] (P. 34. See also Job 1:6 and 2:1; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1–2.)
Find Lucifer’s (Satan’s) rebellion in the following verses—Isaiah 14:13–15; Revelation 12:1–4—and the archangel, Michael, leading the forces of Christ against Lucifer in the War in Heaven—Revelation 12:7–11. God the Father lamented the loss of one-third His children who were swayed by Lucifer and cast out of heaven—Isaiah 14:12.
The events which occurred in the pre-mortal realm are upheld by the fact that the devils recognized the Christ during His mortal ministry and were fully aware, not only of His identity, but His role as Creator and Savior. (See Matthew 8:28–29; Mark 1:23–25; 3:11–12; 5:7–8; Luke 4:33–34, 41; 8:28.)
By understanding the Plan of Salvation in its true shape, as Mormon doctrine teaches it, one can see the purpose of mortality. It is a test, a stopping place in our eternal progression. We are eternal, and as we lived for eons before mortal life, so will we continue after death. We will take up where we left off in mortality, and if we are worthy in heart, mind and action, we will be taken back to that God who gave us life.
Who is Satan?
Satan’s name in pre-mortal life was Lucifer. That he was a personage of persuasion and talent is apparent from the biblical account. (See (Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 12:7–8; Revelation 12:4, 9; Revelation 9:1.) Satan fell. His progress stopped short, as did the progress of those who followed him. They were cast out to the earth and are devils in spirit form, able to possess the bodies of living things temporarily. Satan and his followers will never have mortal bodies, neither will they be resurrected. When the earth has fulfilled its purpose and the Lord’s work is finished, they will be cast out to “outer darkness (hell),” and will be “Sons of Perdition.”
Satan’s first appearance is in the form or body of a serpent in the Garden of Eden. (See Genesis 3:1.) He is first called Lucifer by Isaiah, and Satan in 1 Chronicles 21:1. Matthew calls him the Devil in Matthew 4:1. Satan has many other descriptive and colorful names in the Bible. Some can be found in the following verses: Revelation 9:11; Revelation 2:10; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 John 4:3; Revelation 14:9–10; Matthew 12:24; 2 Corinthians 6:15; Luke 11:15; Revelation 12:9; 1 John 3:8; Matthew 13:39; John 17:15; Ephesians 6:16; John 10:10; Matthew 4:3; Revelation 9:1; Mark 1:13; Ephesians 6:12; Ephesians 2:1–2; John 12:31; Colossians 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4; 2 Corinthians 4:4; and John 8:44.
Satan will have no power during the millennium, when Christ will reign upon the earth, but he will be loosed for a little season after the millennium, only to be defeated by the forces of Christ and Michael. (See Revelation 20:2–3, 7–8; Revelation 20:9–10. Warnings about Satan can be found in the following scriptures: Revelation 12:12; 1 Peter 5:8; John 13:26–27; Isaiah 47:10–14; Deuteronomy 18:9–12.
Satan remembers the pre-mortal realm. See Matthew 8:28–29; Mark 1:23–25; 3:11–12; 5:7–8; Luke 4:33–34, 41; 8:28. Some religions and philosophies of men seem to be true, but they are imitations contrived by Satan to deceive us. (See Exodus 7:8–11, 17–22.) Devils can be cast out by the power of Christ. And we can keep him at bay by putting on the whole armor of God, being spiritual and Christ-oriented (Ephesians 6:10–18).
Satan accomplishes his goals primarily through deception. The many names by which he is known are a reflection of his role as master deceiver. He is able to imitate the gifts of the spirit, including prophecy, tongues, healings, visions, and other miracles. Satan’s army of seduced mortals includes false prophets, false healers and miracle workers, false fortune-tellers and mediums, and others who engage in deceptions that lead men and women away from Christ and Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation.
Satan uses all means—some garishly blatant, others profoundly subtle—to deceive mankind. He hints that disobedience of God’s laws is freedom, even a pathway to godhood. He encourages men and women to follow him in ways that have terrible consequences. Perhaps Satan’s most masterful deception is in convincing (p. 46).
*Adapted from The Biblical Roots of Mormonism by Eric Shuster and Charles Sale, published in 2010 by CFI, Cedar Fort, Inc