Topical Guide/Doctrinal issues/Evil and Suffering/Satan


The Mormon understanding of Satan

Can Satan read our minds?

Summary: Leaders of the Church have been clear that only God has access to our inner thoughts. Satan does, however, have extensive experience in observing mortals and this intuiting their thoughts and desires.

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Could Satan have deceived Nephi?

Summary: Critics charge that the story of Nephi being told by God to slay Laban (found in 1 Nephi 4:5-18) is problematic because the angel which came to Nephi could have been a demonic "angel of light" sent to deceive him; It is suggested that Nephi was listening to "a voice in his head" telling him to kill Laban; this could be psychosis or delusion.

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Struggle with Satan not mentioned in Joseph Smith's 1832 account of the First Vision

Summary: Joseph Smith says in the official Church history account of the First Vision that directly before the theophany occurred he had a struggle with Satan. But this struggle is not mentioned in his 1832 recital of the experience. Since this story element is not present in the earliest known written account of the event, but shows up in later retellings, critics present it as evidence that this visionary tale evolved over time by becoming more dramatic and elaborate.

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Dominion over waters

Summary: I know I was told in the MTC that missionaries were not to ever swim because Satan had dominion over the waters. So what is the actual Church doctrine on this subject?

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Is Jesus Christ a brother of Satan?

Summary: It is claimed that the LDS consider Jesus and Satan to be "brothers," thus lowering the stature of Christ, or elevating Satan. Some go so far as to imply that the LDS "really" worship or revere Satan, and are thus not true "Christians."

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Moroni as an "angel of Satan"

Summary: Some critics have charged that Moroni, the resurrected prophet who gave the Book of Mormon plates to Joseph Smith, was really an angel of Satan. They base this charge on two passages in the New Testament: 2 Corinthians 11:13–15 and Galatians 1:8.

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The use of the name "Lucifer" to represent Satan

Summary: The presence of the name "Lucifer" in the English translation of the Bible is considered by some to be an error: Isaiah 14:12: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" Why is this name propagated in LDS theology?

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