In our pre-mortal existence, we took sides as to who we would follow, Jesus or Lucifer. Two-thirds of us went with Jesus, while one-third went with Satan. Jesus had accepted the plan of the Father, while Satan had sought to amend it. The amendment was sufficiently attractive that one-third of us went with it. I’ve never been in a meeting that has fully discussed the ramifications of a winning vote by Lucifer (other than with what4anarchy.) I intend to publicly discuss this topic now in this post.
The universe consists of a family of gods, with angels attending them and other lesser creations. Each individual that achieves godhood, does so through the laws of the universe, which operate on the principle of agency, not coercion.
“The powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness….When we undertake … to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men,…the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121: 36-37)
“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.” (D&C 121: 41-44)
The above principle is heavenly and applies equally to God as it does to man. God cannot use coercion ever, or he will cease to be God.
Each exalted individual in the family of gods was guaranteed their godhood forever. Should a single one of these gods lose his or her godhood, in other words, should any of them cease to be a god, all of them cease to be gods together. It is a domino chain that is only as strong as its weakest member. As there are no weak members, the chain remains strong forever. They remain gods because they desire to remain gods. And thus it is.
Nevertheless, there is a risk to godhood. Satan sought to exploit that risk. The family of gods work by the principle of agency, not by coercion. Contrary to what you may believe, God the Father accomplishes all things through free agents. Compulsion is anti-god, so to speak, as is lying, etc. So, if Satan can make any of the gods lie or commit anything contrary to their own laws, they all cease to be gods and the universe loses faith in them, stops honoring them, and all creation reverts back to what it was prior to creation, returning to outer darkness from which we all came.
But no god freely will commit an act that causes them to lose their power, which is understandable. So, the risk is minimal. Nevertheless, as they operate on the principle of agency, Satan sought to force the hand of God by taking advantage of the law of common consent. The law of common consent is a heavenly law, not an earthly invention. We voted for Jesus to be our Savior, after he was called of God to that holy office. God never forces anyone to do anything, so Jesus was not forced upon us. We could accept him or reject him. Satan understood that if the vote went his way, if 51% of us voted for him (Lucifer), that the plan of the Father would have been frustrated. So, there was a possibility that the Father could be frustrated, through the common consent of his children. God allows for this possibility and so God the Father and all other gods had their godhood put at risk during this voting time.
Satan didn’t want to just be the Savior, suffering for the sins of mankind. His intention was to do away with agency altogether. If agency were to be done away with, as it is guaranteed by God to all created things in the universe, it would have meant that God would have ceased to be God, as he would have been caught in a lie. All creation would have lost respect and honor for him. The God that promised heavenly Father his eternal exaltation would also cease to be a god, and a chain reaction would result, all gods losing all power. The result would have been the dissolution of the created universe. (See 2 Ne. 2: 13. If there is no God, all things must vanish away.) Everything in it would have returned into that lake of fire and brimstone, or what we now call outer darkness, only then it wouldn’t be an outer darkness, as there would be no inner light (the created universe) to distinguish between the two locations.
A common misconception that LDS have is that when Satan said, “wherefore, give me thine honor,” that he merely wanted the power of God. But it wasn’t like that, at all. Satan didn’t want the universe, all the gods, and everything else (including himself) to return to outer darkness. Yet, his amendment, had it been approved by vote, would have had that very result. And he knew this and so did we. So, he added a requirement to his amendment that was needed to make it work: he required that God worship him (honor him.)
If God worshiped Satan, then Satan beats God. The honor of all creation which is directed at God, the greatest of all, now becomes directed at the individual that beats God. So, when the amendment is enacted, agency becomes suspended, coercion rules, and God and every other member of the family of gods cease to be gods, the universe still has faith in one individual: Satan, the being who conquered all of god-dom.
Satan’s cunning plan wasn’t in that he would rule over this particular God (our heavenly Father,) but that the whole family of gods would be disintegrated and return to the lake of fire and brimstone. The created universe would still remain created, under a new system, a new principle, the principle of coercion, with only one single god, Lucifer, ruling everything. The universe would be reorganized according to Lucifer’s vision of an ideal universe.
So, it wasn’t that Lucifer wanted the honor of God, it was that he needed it to make his plan work. Without the honor of God, all created things revert back to that state prior to creation, including Lucifer himself.
The appeal of Lucifer’s plan was that no one, not a single particle, would return to outer darkness, from whence we all came prior to creation. The only victims in this plan would be the gods, who, through agency, allowed for the possibility of souls returning to outer darkness in misery. His selling points probably were that although God is loving, etc., it is not fair that a single soul should return to outer darkness, therefore, they (the gods) deserve this fate, as they have assigned this very fate to others. Or, he may have justified his amendment to the Father’s plan by saying that we would go into outer darkness and re-create the souls of the former gods, bringing them back into the universe so that they didn’t suffer for all eternity, though they would not obtain their former glory.
So, in our vote between Jesus and Satan, outer darkness and who would be cast into it played a big part of our decision-making process. In the Father’s plan, only sons of perdition would return to outer darkness, of their own agency, not being willing to repent. In Satan’s amendment to the plan, only the gods of the universe would return to outer darkness, having lost all power and being compelled to go, and not a single soul or particle (other than the family of gods) would go back into those outer regions.
We already know what happened. God the Father and the family of gods were before us, we could see them and know of their love for us, of their qualities, yet despite that tremendous influence, one-third of us sided with Satan and rebelled when the vote went in favor of Jesus and the Father’s plan of agency.
There is one more aspect of this topic that I will address in a follow-up post.
Next Deep Waters article: Deep Waters:Lehi’s model of the universe
Previous Deep Waters article: Deep Waters: How many wives? How many husbands?