The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

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InquiringMind
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The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by InquiringMind » 28 Sep 2012, 00:38

The story of the third of the host of heaven in the pre-mortal life who were cast off for following Lucifer has not made sense to me for quite awhile.

First, we should put in perspective just how evil this third of the host of heaven had to be. Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Joseph Stalin, Atilla the Hun, and Ted Bundy all were good enough to qualify to come to Earth and receive bodies, so it seems that this third who did not receive bodies were more evil than any of these men. What would it have been like to live in a pre-mortal life where every third person you met was an Adolph Hitler, a Joseph Stalin, or a Ted Bundy? And what kind of parent is God if a third of his children turn out to be Hitlers, Stalins, and Bundys?

Here's where things get really sticky for me. The third of the host of heaven who followed Lucifer are part of the plan of salvation as well: they provide us with the opposition and temptation we need to give us strength and to prove ourselves worthy of exaltation. Without opposition, we can't be exalted, so without this third who followed Lucifer to provide us with opposition, we couldn't be exalted. This brings me to the most unsettling part of the story. The true sacrificial lamb of the plan of salvation is not Jesus: the true sacrifice is the third of the host heaven who sacrificed their chance at salvation so that we could have a chance at salvation. That third of the host of heaven- billions upon billions of God's spirit children- will suffer eternal damnation with no hope of redemption so that they can provide us with the opposition we need to be tested and be found worth of exaltation. If the story is true, then we need Satan and his followers nearly as much as we need Jesus. Satan's role in providing us with opposition is nearly as important as Jesus' role in providing us with a way to overcome opposition. If this is the case, we owe a great debt of gratitude to that third of the host of heaven who sacrificed their chance at exaltation and will spend eternity in misery so that we can have a chance at exaltation.

And why would God create billions of spirit children with the knowledge that they would spend eternity in misery?

So the story isn't making sense to me. Do you believe that the story is literally true? Or is it a morality play? Or is it a fairy tale? Or is it something else?

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On Own Now
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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by On Own Now » 28 Sep 2012, 07:28

Some thoughts.

- Evil or Rebellious. I don't look at the story as the third most evil characters and bad guys were cast out, but rather that that third chose to break away from God and follow Lucifer. They were rebels, not grades of evil. Their punishment is associated with their rebellion. Just because someone else went with the majority doesn't mean that they were stellar spirits. Consider the American Civil War, where Robert E. Lee fought for the South, while George Custer fought for the North.

- Evilness of people on the earth. I think evil is manifested by our actions in the face of opposition and opportunities. According to the gospel as I understand it, part of coming here and taking on a body is to be given the real opportunity to act in free will. Taking a non-LDS view for a second, I don't think Hitler thought of himself as evil... quite the opposite, actually. Stalin studied to become a priest in the Eastern Orthodox Church, before his faith transition. Like Hitler, he was an ideologue who allowed his ends to justify his means. Unchecked, these men became the two most destructive individuals in the history of mankind (to date). But I would say that the capacity to do evil, along with the capacity to do good is inherently in each of us... and we can't really know who we are until we demonstrate it through our actions.

- Tormenters, demons, evil spirits. This one is pretty simple for me. "The Devil made me do it" is a bit like "Santa Claus is coming to town". These are the kinds of concepts that earthly fathers tell their children, or that church fathers tell their followers. LDS theology, in my opinion, does not require evil spirits in order for there to be opposition. Opposition exists in and of itself. The natural man, we are told, is an enemy to God. Yes, LDS theology says that Lucifer and his minions strive to tempt us and keep us away from God. That doesn't mean that we couldn't keep ourselves away from God if Satan happens to be concentrating on someone else for a couple of weeks.

Featherina

Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by Featherina » 28 Sep 2012, 10:57

InquiringMind,

IMO, Most, if not all scriptures are spiritual lessons (like symbolic parables) not history lessons.

I never thought of Satan/evil as saviors, but I see your point & it makes sense, since "there must be opposition in all things."

I believe in eternal progression & although contradictions, I've heard eternal progression repeated many times in church.
I don't think it's essential to understand how the progression works (reincarnation, etc.) - but I do think it's good to keep an open mind, especially when realizing we will all die having never "arrived" at perfection. (And also other cognitive dissonance relating to scape-goat human sacrifice.)

To me, evil is whatever my weakness is. To some, a bag of chips is potentially evil because it challenges a life-damaging weakness, but to others it's no big deal. Good & evil seem to be subjective - at least to an extent. Of course, we have laws & general societal understandings of what is good & bad for individuals & as a group. Yet, we all have "buttons" that really tick us off beyond what might affect others. Some call this "shadow self" - that which is unconscious - but negatively affecting us when certain circumstances arise. This shadow self is probably the cause of evil.

OnOwnNow mentioned, "The natural man, we are told, is an enemy to God."
Yet we are also "children of God." Just as "the kingdom of God is within you" - so is how you resonate with "evil" (ignor-ance, bad feelings & motives) within you.

What I wonder is if true joy is possible without its opposite.
Is opposition necessary just for this world of temporary illusions (with the veil), or does it apply in the eternal perspective of truth/God?
Last edited by Featherina on 28 Sep 2012, 11:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Heber13
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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by Heber13 » 28 Sep 2012, 11:12

InquiringMind wrote:Do you believe that the story is literally true?
No. I think the scriptures really aren't reliable on the numbers, for the most part, the stories in the scriptures come from generations of oral history...not likely to be literally accurate. Also, other cultures haven't had the mindset we have of being so accurate with data and details and often authors never intended things be taken so literally...so Creation in 6 days could really mean any time frame where there were different periods, it has nothing to do with days. 100,000s slain in Lamanite and Nephite battles in North America somewhere around Hill Cumorah in upstate New York...not likely literally true with regard to numbers or locations or factual events. 1/3 of the hosts of heaven lost ... not likely literally true to me, but more likely the point made that there was a conflict on the plan and many were involved. There is symbolism in the story that can provide meaning to me. But the literal stuff of all these invisible spirits tempting us on the earth....I'm not sure that means anything to me literally.

I'm with you...the story doesn't seem to make sense. Unless I look for the teaching points I think were meant to be conveyed in these stories.

When I hear things in the scriptures like "1/3 of all the hosts of heaven" ... I translate to "a lot".

I don't think we know much about the pre-existence or the post-mortal world to see things any more clear, or take things too literal.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Sep 2012, 13:43

No, not literal to me.

3 was a powerful number in that society, and 1/3 is the equivalent of saying "the minorty" or "a smaller part", while 2/3 is the equivalent of saying "the majority" or "the larger part".

So, I take it to mean that some people reject God, but most follow God - when faced with a choice between good and evil.

I think that fits our theology very well - and it also informs how I view the 3 degrees of glory. It makes my view different than most members', but it's how I see it - figuratively and "numeralogically".
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SamBee
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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by SamBee » 29 Oct 2012, 13:25

First, we should put in perspective just how evil this third of the host of heaven had to be. Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Joseph Stalin, Atilla the Hun, and Ted Bundy all were good enough to qualify to come to Earth and receive bodies, so it seems that this third who did not receive bodies were more evil than any of these men. What would it have been like to live in a pre-mortal life where every third person you met was an Adolph Hitler, a Joseph Stalin, or a Ted Bundy? And what kind of parent is God if a third of his children turn out to be Hitlers, Stalins, and Bundys?
Well, if we take this literally we might see it other ways.

Stalin, Hitler etc may have got through for other reasons -
* They were not easily led, but were leaders.
* They were ditherers, and didn't think Lucifer was on to a winner at the time.
* They changed sides at the right moment.
* Lucifer needed agents with bodies and didn't directly recruit them.
* Some evil needed to get through for the plan to work.

On the other hand, the third might have got caught, because...
* They were easily led.
* They were deceived.
* They were weak.
* They had their own personal grievances with God.
* They changed sides at the wrong moment.

Interestingly, I believe that in the American war of independence, the population was roughly divided into thirds.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Orson
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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by Orson » 02 Nov 2012, 09:59

What if it is just the first chapter of the story, and we have the wrong idea about how it will turn?

What if we need to follow the teachings of Christ to experience the mighty change of heart that will prompt us to say out of love for our brothers: "let him take my place in the kingdom, I could not bear to live in glory when this my brother is out in the dark."

What if our truly following Christ and becoming perfectly loving selfless beings will save all men in the end?
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Heber13
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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by Heber13 » 02 Nov 2012, 10:15

Very cool idea, Orson. What a paradigm shift that would be.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

dash1730
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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by dash1730 » 02 Nov 2012, 19:05

I'm scratching my head over this story, as it is related to some other stories I remember learning, but for the life of me don't know their source. As I recall, Lucifer and his 1/3 is banished to earth, and his influence is limited to inhabitants on this planets. He cannot tempt people on other planets, even though Christ's atonement covers them, too. But as a result earth is the most wicked of all among God's creation. If this story is true then other inhabitants on planets are able to live out their mortality in rather challenging conditions. I am forced to wonder why we then got stuck with a raw deal.

Does this story ring a bell with anyone?
I may not walk the straight and narrow, but I try to cross it as often as I can.
---J Golden Kimball

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Orson
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Re: The 1/3 of the Host of Heaven

Post by Orson » 05 Nov 2012, 09:04

Heber13 wrote:Very cool idea, Orson. What a paradigm shift that would be.
Thanks, I love to muse on simple yet penetrating ideals. I love how Pres. McKay stressed agency (the divine plan of choice) and that our understanding of Satan's plan to force obedience does not lead to real personal change. When I combine that with "charity is the greatest of all" I try to imagine where a godly drive for selflessness may intersect with pure agency and I end up making wacky comments like the above.

Q: But what of "God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance?"

My response to this is simply what if we are misunderstanding by some small degree what this instance of "sin" is referring to? What if the greater sin lies in our finding comfort or satisfaction in "justice" over the salvation of our brother?

What if love really does conquer all?
Moroni 7:47
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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