What do Mormons truly teach concerning Satan, eternity and the cross?
I, along with Nathan Jones, had the pleasure of asking this question of James Walker, President of the ministry Watchman Fellowship based in Arlington, Texas. James is a former fourth generation Mormon who found the Lord Jesus Christ and since then has dedicated his life in trying to lead people out of the spiritual darkness of the cults. Experts on cults and false religions, his ministry has indexed nearly 1,200 religious organizations, cults, occultic groups, and controversial doctrinal practices to aid people in spiritual discernment.
Chat With a Mormon
Dr. Reagan: Nathan, you had an interesting online chat recently with a Mormon. Tell us all about it.
Nathan Jones: Certainly. We get emails everyday from people with questions. A gentleman wrote in and asked us what document of the Mormons teaches that Satan is spirit brothers with Jesus. It's a famous question Mike Huckabee once posed. Anyway, I went online to look for an answer and went to mormon.org. There's tons of literature on their site.
Dr. Reagan: So, this is an official website of the Mormon Church?
Nathan Jones: Yes, their official site is Mormon.org. The site even has a spot where you can just talk to a Mormon and ask him questions. They have online missionaries you can talk to. I thought I'd save time and just ask a guy.
The Mormon evangelist the site hooked me up with was very helpful and very friendly. Through chat I asked him what document of the Mormons teaches that Satan is the spirit brothers of Jesus. He went off for a bit to do the research and he came back. I expected he'd give me an answer from The Book of Mormon or The Pearl of Great Price, but instead he gave me Acts 17:29. "Therefore since we are God's offspring…" The verse starts off like that. I pressed him on that to learn exactly what does that mean. He answered that God's no respecter of persons, so in that sense we're all equal.
Dr. Reagan: We're equal to God!?!
Nathan Jones: Yes, he said we're equal.
Not only is Jesus and Satan brothers, but we're brothers with Jesus and Satan as well. Since that was such an interesting claim, I wanted him to elaborate on that. He gave me another point about becoming our own god. He says God wants the same for all of us, so he came up with a plan for us all to have every opportunity to be like him. "Be like God?" I asked. "Can we be like God?" He said, "Yes, sir! We have all the potential to be like God." So I asked, "In what ways?" He answered that we can be like God in every way. Every way we can be like God. Can you believe that?
In our conversation I asked this online Mormon missionary about salvation. What did Jesus provide that allows me to become like God? He says we could choose to either follow Satan in unhappiness, or follow God in happiness. "What exactly does that mean?" I had to ask. "Does Jesus offer happiness which leads us to become like God, and Satan gives us unhappiness which keeps us from becoming like God?" He told me that if I embrace Jesus' happiness I will become like God. He also said there are some other things I'd have to do to become like God, like following the Ten Commandments, as well as listening and following the Mormon modern day prophets.
Dr. Reagan: Oh, so they're adding more and more and more as they go along onto salvation?
Nathan Jones: Yes. It really took only five minutes to see how different the Mormon beliefs are from the Christian beliefs.
Mormonism Believes Jesus and Satan are Spirit Brothers
Nathan Jones: I made a comment about what I thought of Satan, and he responded that God told us not to judge anyone lest we be judged in the same manner. Doing so helped him keep bitter thoughts out of his mind. See, he's always happier when he keeps bitter thoughts out.
I next asked the online Mormon missionary what's going to happen to Satan. He answered that God is a merciful father and because of that he just didn't know. He didn't have anything definite to say about Satan or know of what kind of judgment he might some day receive. That's the big question we left our conversation with. We wound down after that.
James, what do the Mormons believe about Satan and if he'll receive any judgment?
James Walker: Well, let me say, first of all, that online missionary on Mormon.org was far more forthright than what I've seen coming out even from the Mormon response to Fox News' "21 Questions about Mormonism." I think he was being pretty honest with you about what Mormons believe.
To answer your question, you have to understand that everything to Mormons revolves around our heavenly parents. In Mormonism, you have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who have had billions of sons and daughters. Jesus is one of them. I'm one of them. You're one of them. So is Lucifer. That was the famous Mike Huckabee question, "Do the Mormons teach that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers?" The answer is yes, but they'll claim we're all brothers and sisters with these same heavenly parents. I appreciate that the online Mormon missionary was being honest with you concerning Satan and being a little bit more forthright than I've seen in other venues as of late on the theology and doctrines of the Mormon Church.
Dr. Reagan: Think of what this does to Jesus Christ, to His divinity and all, when we start equating ourselves with Him.
James Walker: You have to take one step back. You need to realize Mormons teach that gods, angels and humans are all the same species in various forms. Just like you have a caterpillar that becomes a butterfly, a normal Mormon statement would claim humans are God in embryo. We have the potential to become just like our heavenly parents. Well, that destroys the Divinity and Deity of Christ because it just makes Jesus our elder brother. It makes Him instead of the God of the universe to be a latter day god, and one of billions of other gods and goddesses.
Mormonism Believes the Levels of Eternity
Dr. Reagan: What is the significance of becoming a Temple Mormon?
James Walker: Well, full salvation to becoming a god, called Celestial Exaltation, requires that you go through the Temple ceremony.
Dr. Reagan: What percentage of Mormons do that?
James Walker: Very few, probably less than 20% of adult Mormons have reached the bar of being able to qualify to go inside a Temple.
Dr. Reagan: Does that end up with Mormons being put in different categories eternally?
James Walker: Yes, in Mormonism there are actually three heavens. You have the bottom heaven which is reserved for wicked people who don't believe in God like the Atheists. Even murderers can go to what they call the Telestial Kingdom which is the bottom heaven.
The middle heaven is reserved for religious people who were not Mormons. They were not obedient to the full light, but they were a good Buddhist or a good Methodist, so they go to the middle heaven.
The top heaven is called the Celestial Kingdom and it is reserved for Latter-day Saints only. It's the highest of that kingdom this third degree, and is reserved only for married Mormons who both the husband and wife were both obedient to the Mormon gospel. That is the Celestial Kingdom which is the bridge or gateway to becoming a god yourself.
Dr. Reagan: The highest level would be for those who were Temple Mormons?
James Walker: Yes, but there's a loop hole. If for some reason you weren't able to do the Temple ceremonies in this life, then they can be done for you by the living. Living Mormons can go through not just the baptism, but also all the Temple rituals for and on behalf of the dead people.
Mormonism's Disdain for the Cross
Dr. Reagan: When you get to that highest Temple level and you are baptized at the Temple, is information revealed to you about Mormonism that you didn't know before?
James Walker: Some. You do learn things in the Temple, or I would say you learn more in preparing to go into the Temple. The Temple preparation manuals is where the Church is the most clear about your becoming a god yourself. They teach about our heavenly parents and that God and his wife were once human before they advanced to becoming gods. A lot of that teaching you don't get clearly at the regular Mormon church service. You only get it as you're preparing for this important step and receive the Temple preparation manuals.
Dr. Reagan: The late Dr. Ron Carlson at one time shared about when he was going to the dedication of a Mormon Temple in the Philippines. He said that he was standing outside handing out Gospel brochures and one of the Temple elders came out and told him to leave. He asked the Temple elder if he could explain something. "Why is it you don't have a cross on this Temple?" He answered that the cross is offensive. Dr. Carlson pointed out that the Bible in 1 Corinthians 1:18 says the cross is offensive to those who are lost.
James Walker: Yes, when I was a Mormon I was taught never to wear a cross. There's never a cross on any Mormon Temple or any Mormon Church building. The saying I was told as a Latter-day Saint was, "If your brother was killed with a knife, would you want to wear a knife around your neck? And so, why would you want to put a knife up on your church?" I've heard that said many times, that the cross is a symbol and its just foolishness. Of course, the Bible does say the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing is foolishness.
What I didn't understand the whole time I was a Latter-day Saint is that the cross is the crux and focus of our entire atonement. It's what Christ did on the cross that's all that matters, not what He did at the Garden of Gethsemane as the Latter-day Saints believe. What Jesus did on the cross in dying in my place for my sins, there is my true salvation.
An Invitation to Mormons
Dr. Reagan: If you could speak to any Mormon right now, what would you say?
James Walker: If you're you're a Latter-day Saint, let me say as you are now, I once was. And, as I am, you may become.
I want to share with you that there's a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is by grace through faith alone. The real Jesus is the Jesus of the Bible. I would invite you to trust that Jesus and Him alone right now, and not in obedience to laws and ordinances, but what Christ did for you on the cross. There is your salvation. I invite you to take that step right now.