Just What Was Satan’s Plan Anyway?

During the council in Heaven Lucifer presented his own plan in opposition to our Heavenly Fathers plan. He claimed that not one soul would be lost and that all of the glory would be his. But as far as I know of there is really no mention of how he would accomplish this. Have I missed something? There have been many who have said that his plan involved forcing us to obey all the commandments and receive all the ordinances. I wonder if this is an assumption.

I saw a small book once at an LDS bookstore in Chicago that addressed this question. I just quickly read the back cover and flipped through the book quickly and decided not to buy it. This book (I can’t remember the author, it was not a GA)made the claim that forced obedience was not Satan’s intention at all. The assumption made in this book is that his intension was to remove the commandments and take away any accountability. At first glance this appears to me to be more his style. He has spread that notion to people for a long time.

I believe both ‘methods’ are speculative Since I have not found any direct scriptural explanation. In a way it may not matter at all since neither method would work, but it may give us more insight into how Satan prefers to operate. Does anyone know about the book I am talking about? Does a no accountability / no sin method make more sense than a forced obedience method for Satan to propose? It certainly makes sense to me.


13 Responses to “Just What Was Satan’s Plan Anyway?”

  1. 1 J. Stapley December 12, 2005 at 1:55 pm

    Interesting, posts. As far as I can tell, this is an area where there is as much speculation as anything. The three accounts that are most impactful are:

    Moses 4: 3 – “give me thine honor…saught to destroy the agency of man”

    Abr 3:28 – “was angry…many followed after him”

    KFD – Jesus explains that he will save all but perdition, Satan explains that he will save all, including perdition.

    My take, and I recently mentioned this at FPR, is that it hinges on the KFD additions. I think that perdition is the result of recieving the fullness of the priesthood. I think that part of Satan’s theoretical power grab was to destroy the fullness of the priesthood. Hence, we would not be made Kings and Queens, but he would be made ruler of all.

    I don’t see anywhere were we have the idea that we would be compelled to obey under satan’s plan. While the fact that hey sought to destroy agency in Moses (1832, if I remember right), the Abraham text whichis almost a dacade older doesn’t mention it and neither does the indepth narrative that Joseph gave in the KFD just months before his death.

  2. 2 Geoff J December 12, 2005 at 2:27 pm

    I think the problem comes from reading highly symbolic texts way too literally. I think the “plan” of the satan character in this narrative probably mostly represents the pride in all of us — the pride that says I’ll do it my own way. Following the path of The Only Begotten represents the only way there ever was (on any planet I believe) to Godlike joy and peace which cames from our relationship with Deity.

    This hyper-literal reading of pre-mortal narratives in Mormonisn does us a disservice in my opinion.

  3. 3 J. Stapley December 12, 2005 at 3:16 pm

    Geoff, are you really calling Joseph’s narrative in the KFD strictly symbollic?

  4. 4 Geoff J December 12, 2005 at 4:49 pm

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say “Joseph’s narrative in the KFD”, J. I was strictly referring to those scriptures that are commonly interpreted to be about the competing “plans” we were presented with prior to this life. (Joseph mentioned this in passing in the KFD.)

    My view is that we are still in the middle of “war in heaven” and the competing plans are still being presented to us constantly — do we take the prideful way of life and rely on the arm of flesh or the opposite plan and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  5. 5 Eric Nielson December 12, 2005 at 4:50 pm

    J. and Geoff:

    Thank you very much for your comments. I am very flattered that you visited my blog. I agree that Satan’s plan was a power grab. I think one thing this also hinges on is what is the definition of free agency? There are many church leaders who would prefer that this term was moral agency. I think this implies that what is meant by the term is a combination of freedom and accountability. So when we read in Moses 4:3 that he saught to destroy the agency of man does this mean he meant to destroy freedom or accountability? This may be a forced either/or.

    I also agree that many of us may tend to take simplified or symbolic explanations too literally.

  6. 6 Last Lemming December 12, 2005 at 5:04 pm

    Lucifer’s claim “that one soul shall not be lost,” only makes sense to me under the “no accountability” scenario.

    Lucifer was talking about getting everybody back to the point they already were, only with physical bodies. Achieving that for those not accountable is clearly possible according to current doctrine. So making everybody unaccountable solves the problem very neatly.

    A “forced obedience” scenario implies to me that we would understand the difference between right and wrong actions, but be forced to choose right actions. Our actions, however, are not the whole story. If we wanted to chose evil but were prevented from doing so, out thoughts would condemn us and we would not be saved. This plan would fail. (If we would be forced to think right thoughts, then this scenario is indistinguishable from the “no accountability” scenario in which we also cannot have wrong thoughts.)

    So what’s the catch? It is that the Savior’s plan allowed us not only to get back to where we were, but to exceed that and become like the Father. That requires accountability, but at the cost of losing some souls. We rejected Lucifer’s plan because we wanted a shot at exaltation.

  7. 7 J. Stapley December 12, 2005 at 6:45 pm

    last lemming, I don’t see where you get that from. IF you look at the KFD, it is quite plain that the only difference would be that there is no perdition under the plan of the adverary:

    Jesus Christ being the greater light or of more intelligence for he loved rituousness and hated iniquity he being the Elder Brother Presented himself for to come and redeem this world as it was his right by inheritance he stated he could save all those who did not sin against the holy ghost & the[y] would obey the code of laws that was given But their sircumstances ware that all who would sin against the Holy ghost should have no forgiveness neither in this world nor in the world to come, for they had strove aganst light and knowledg after the[y] had tasted of the good things of the world to come the[y] should not have any pardon in the world to come because the[y] had a knowledg of the world to come and ware not willing to abide the law therefore the[y] can have no forgiveness there but must be most miserable of all and never can be renewed again

    But Satan or Lucifer being the next heir and had alloted to him great power and authority even prince of power of the eir He spake emediatey and boasted of himself saying send me I can save all [he] even those who sined against the holy ghost and he accused his brethren and was herld [hurled] from the council for striving to breake the law emediatly and there was a warfare with Satan and the gods and the[y] hurld Satan out of his place and all them that would not keep the law of the councill But he himself being one of the council would not keep his or their first estate for he was one of the Sons of perdition and concequently all the Sons of perdition become devils &[c]. (George Laub Account, WoJS, pg. 362)

    That also responds to Geoff’s question about Joseph’s narative.

  8. 8 Eric Nielson December 12, 2005 at 6:46 pm

    I fully agree lemming. Thank you for visiting this site and for your comment.

  9. 9 Eric Nielson December 12, 2005 at 6:50 pm


    I am going to have to read the KFD again soon.

  10. 10 sean p. December 13, 2005 at 8:19 pm

    The other important aspect of Satan’s plan, which I don’t think has been explored yet, is that it was COMPELLING! It was attractive enough to persuade 1/3 of the hosts of heaven to abandon what would seem like a perfectly logical process (our Heavenly Father’s plan) at the risk of their own damnation, and chase after whatever reason and arguments were presented. Wow. If I were faced with the same choice (which we all were at that time) I would not have been very tempted to say “Hey, let’s follow this other guy because he’s going to force us to be good! Woo hoo!” But if someone said “You can do whatever you want and still be saved” then I might have been tempted.

    I think another important thing to remember is that just because it wouldn’t have worked doesn’t mean that it would never have been presented as an alternate plan. Pride, pride, pride.

    My $0.02

    (OK Eric, you got me going on this one. I hope you’re happy now.)

  11. 11 Eric Nielson December 13, 2005 at 9:26 pm


    Welcome to small and simple.

    You are with me on the compelling idea, no accountability can sound pretty good and tempting.

    I have done a little reading lately on this and it is not just the rank-and-file that seems to believe in forced obedience. If I remember right Briham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie and others have mentioned the forced obedience method. I still feel that this is an assumption however.

    I might add that this is probably a safe area to speculate in because at a certain level it doesn’t matter much. It was a false plan and would not have worked either way. But it may give us some insight to how Satan might operate and help us become more aware of his methods at work today.

  12. 12 Rambo March 13, 2006 at 1:50 am

    The book you are talking about is called Satan’s War on Free Agency by Greg Wright, an Institute teacher from CA…I have contacted him and have his book as a word document.
    It is quite fascinating and makes perfect sense to me that 1/3 would not be stupid enough to live under the iron thumb of a forced plan…
    It is even more convincing when you look at other religions in the world and see this freedom plan being repeated where there is no penalty for actions.
    Many GAs have talked on this. Talmage says it was a force plan in Jesus The Christ (he also says Jesus was born in 1 BCE which is historically impossible). Brigham Young supports the freedom plan idea in his Discourses…there are many others as well but nothing definative…

  13. 13 Eric Nielson March 24, 2006 at 11:40 am


    Thank you for the reference, I will have to try to get the book.

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