This blog was contributed by my younger sibling. It's becoming quite the family affair.
Growing up I would often hear tantalizing and horrifying stories of disobedient, prideful, and sinful people and their close encounters with “the adversary”, Satan, that old snake, even Lucifer! Being a good LDS child I knew that the Devil was real, and that he was doing everything in his power to corrupt those people who walked too far from the light. Stories of Ouija boards leading to Satan knocking at the door, or disobedient girls dancing with a handsome boy looking down to see cloven hoofs only cemented my already firm belief that the Devil was real and at work in our lives. There he lurked, at the edge of the light, tempting us to step closer so he could grab us into sin and evil.
You see, to the LDS (Latter-Day Saints: Mormons) Satan is a real and ever present force. The LDS church teaches that in the “pre-existence” our pre-mortal life, Satan was one of the good guys, a much revered older brother who was second only to Jesus when it came to the love of the Father, God. When it came time to decide how to get this whole “life and creation” thing done, two plans were put forth, one from Jesus, one from Satan.
Satan’s plan was quite simple: knowing that god couldn’t have unclean things near him in heaven (allergies I guess), and knowing that having a body is a prime way to get dirty, Satan proposed that he would make sure that everyone played nice and got along in the earth life so that they could all return. For his hard work, he expected to get a little love from those he saved, you know, fist bumps in the hallway, high fives from Jesus, the usual.
Jesus, on the other hand, had a plan for creation that was much different. Jesus thought that we should all enter life with no knowledge of any kind, unaware of our pre-existence. We would then be left adrift in a sea of competing ideas with no clear understanding of who we are and what we are doing. While there would be no “hell” per se, the only way you could reach the highest degree of heaven, and truly fulfill your eternal potential was if you happened to find one small religion that was started in upstate New York, got married, and went through some rituals that rather resemble Masonry. You see, you had to learn good from evil on your own. You had to experience bad and good in order to truly reach your potential. Oh and by the way, the Glory would go to the Father, God. Jesus, you see, has no need for high fives.
For some reason the perfect creator, the all loving father, decided that we would go with Jesus’ plan.
Then Satan and 1/3 the host of heaven were cast out for a small disagreement over this plan.
And so Satan began his career of trying to entice people into evil, to foil the plans of Celestial Daddy and Big Brother Jesus. Thus, the stories of Satan’s appearances.
It was only when I got much older that I realized that in every story, in every example, the appearance of the devil had the same effect on the protagonist of the story. It drove them straight to church or to God to repent of their wicked ways. It occurred to me that Satan is not working up to his potential. If he is trying to foil the plans of God, he needs to try some different tactics, use some brains, work smarter not harder. The way to defeat any enemy is to look at what they are trying to accomplish and defeat their goals. I have an idea for Satan, just to start him out.
Because you must know good from evil to pass this mortal test, stop people from knowing evil.
If Satan really wanted to foil the plans of God, he would tempt people to do good, not evil. If every person in the world were to constantly be tempted to do good to each other as hard as we are tempted to masturbate, view pornography, and kill hookers in dark alleys, most people would go through life without ever having to experience evil. God would be left with emotionally and ethically stunted candidates for Godhood. Heaven would be like BYU.
If Satan were to follow the above idea, he’d just need to make sure they know it’s him who is helping them out.
While it might be fine for Jesus to give the thanks to God (even though he did all the work) it would be dishonest for anyone whom Satan helped save to give the glory to God. I mean, God kicked him out and he still is trying to help? That would be no thanks to God, but in spite of him. Everyone one who was brought before the judgment seat of God would be forced to admit that that they couldn’t have done it without Satan. They would have no need of atonement from Christ and so would have no need to thank him. Christ would then have no thanks to pass on to Papa. Satan would get the Glory.
The only way for God to teach these people to know good from evil would be if he tempted them to do evil, and really, is that the kind of God you want to worship?