Picking Up the Pieces: The Possible Link Between An Unpopular Principle and The War in Heaven (and Earth)

Undoubtedly, one of Lucifer's arguments in the council in heaven was that many would fall short of their goal of eternal life, and still others would be irretrievably lost to the family of God (perdition) when left free to act for themselves. You can be sure he trumped up the "safety" of his plan to all who had any doubts about whether or not their faith in Christ was strong enough to carry them through all the vicissitudes of mortal life. In lieu of faith, even there in the spirit realm, there seems to be a hint of the desire for "carnal security..." a type of natural man insurance plan. 

Lucifer, because he could not accept the terms of the Father's plan and rebelled, "was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 6:314). The number of spirit children this equates to is described as "a third part of the hosts of heaven." (D&C 29:36-38) What are we talking about when we say "a third?" Is it 33.33%? Is it a rough estimate of about 1/3? Or is it talking about one of three different groups? We don't know for sure. But Mosiah Hancock and other early Restoration figures were clearly under the impression that there were three different parties during Lucifer's campaign and the "war in heaven." We have those who rebelled, those who sided valiantly with Jehovah, and those who really didn't want to make a decision; they wanted to do their own thing and go their own way, and not fight for either the Lord or Lucifer (does that sound like a familiar stance in the world all around us?).

 In Mosiah Hancock's account (to find out who Mosiah is, refer back to What Mosiah Saw) he put it this way:

"About one third of the males and females...withdrew from the conflict, the females taking the males by the arm, said, 'Come let us not take part with either side. Let us retire."

The subject of a neutral party in heaven has been debated ever since Joseph Smith's day, mostly because of what people believe it implies about race. A great example of where this idea stems from comes from some of Mosiah Hancock's subsequent words in his account. He has the "Great Eternal" as declaring, "Again it is decreed that those males who have taken no part in this great conflict shall keep their females and a race of servants shall they be." Hence the idea that the black race (the people that were enslaved as "servants" at the time these ideas were formed) had therefore been those less-than-valiant spirits in the War in Heaven. But there are problems with this hasty connection.

Problem #1 -  Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal (25 Dec 1869) that Lorenzo Snow asked Brigham Young at their meeting of the School of the Prophets whether or not the "Negroes" had been the neutrals in the war in heaven. He said someone had told him that was what Joseph Smith taught. Brigham Young answered, "There were no neutral spirits in heaven at the time of the rebellion. All took sides." This seems to settle the question...or does it? Technically, there is a way both he AND Mosiah's account could be correct. If our first estate was anything like this second estate we can draw a very likely conclusion: the more valiant servants of the Lord probably worked tirelessly tracking down and working with every single as-yet uncommitted individual and giving them the chance to either accept or reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who rejected God's plan with Jehovah as Redeemer would have had to join Lucifer and be cast out. Those who agreed to support God's plan would have been allowed to remain. Hence, technically, there really would have been no "neutrals" in heaven who were then allowed to proceed to earth to continue their progression. Ultimately all would have had to decide. And the same will be true by the end of this estate. It's the same pattern.

Problem #2 - Is the fact that being condemned to be "a race of servants" could possibly have nothing to do with an earthly station. In the LDS theology we believe that all spirits who do not merit the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will be "appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory...and henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever." D&C 132:16-17) That sure sounds to me like a race of servants. It sounds to me like these less-valiant spirits, unless they experience a change of heart, are on the track that leads to falling short of the fulness of the Father, although they would be saved in some sort of glory (which is more than we can say for the Sons of Perdition).

Now that we've established that it is possible one of the three "parts" could, indeed, have been termed "neutral" at one point, we can examine the other two parts. Let's consider the part that was lost. Mosiah has this to say about them:

"When...Satan and his followers were all cast down, their female companions wept, and we all wept. No females took part against the Father and the Son, but all took sides in their favor, except the neutral ones already mentioned." 

Both men and women tend to get upset over the idea that only males followed Satan in the pre-existence, but often for different reasons. Fairmormon.org does a pretty good job of directing our attention to an observation: the prophets and leaders at the beginning of this dispensation foster the idea that females are incapable of becoming "Sons" of Perdition, with general authorities living closer to our day seeming to grow increasingly more of the opinion that women can and will become Sons of Perdition. That might be owing to "changing and expanding gender roles and a greater experience with women," as it says on their website. This is an interesting social commentary that deserves its own post one day.

For our purposes today, let's imagine that Mosiah was correct that no females were cast out with Satan. Am I entertaining this idea because I believe women are not capable of that degree of rebellion against God? No. I'm just following this line of thought for a moment to see where it leads. It leads us to Mosiah's next statement:

"After the tears were dried from our eyes, the voice of the Great Eternal spoke again and said, 'Hear, O ye my children;' His voice penetrating the immensity of space so that all could hear it; 'it is decreed by the great Eternal that the females shall not follow their males in their banishment, but for every male that has kept his first estate and fought valiantly for the Father and the Son, there are two females.  I then saw that the notable ones who had taken such an interest in the rights of the Father and Son, were appointed to gather up those lone females whose companions had been cast down."

There. Right there is an explanation for why plural marriage would have needed to be instituted under the righteous patriarchy of Abraham and restored briefly as part of the "restoration of all things" under Joseph Smith (in the same manner that the more celestial Law of Consecration experienced a brief presence at the beginning of this dispensation). Even though it makes sense that males and females were created in perfect balance, we now are presented with the idea that more males than females were and will be lost along the way. I WONDER if that is part of a recurring pattern that typically happens one eternal round after another eternal round. I WONDER if the male portion of creation (for some reason) are statistically more likely to shirk from the duty assigned them by their God and fall short of exaltation. I WONDER if that was, perhaps, another of Lucifer's complaints - something that only worked to fuel his cause of rebellion. I'll bet he goaded as many males as he could with that. I can only WONDER. But, I can observe the world around me, too. And sadly, I sometimes think that this could be the case.

Not only will there be the fallout from the War in Heaven, but whatever wreckage accumulates by the winding up scenes of this world. What will the ratios be by then? Will it be 7 women to 1 man, like Isaiah describes?  Perhaps it won't be quite that bad. But even so...how is this fair to women? So many questions await us on this journey...but this is a good beginning.

What say ye?

This is part three in a six part discussion.  Here are the links to the rest of the series: One, Two, Four, Five, and Six

Listen to our discussion on this topic