"Chocolate is not junk food. It is emotional health food." - Dragon Lady
Question #41567 posted on 12/17/2007 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

After the TV mini-series "Fallen" and it's sequels came out, I became curious in the idea of Fallen Angels. Now my work gets pretty boring sometimes so I read the Wikipedia (which I know isn't alway accurate) and the board to help me get through the long days.
Now that I have prefaced this I will get on with the question. In the apocryphal Book of Enoch (which I did get from the library and read) it says a group of rebellious angels leave heaven and come to earth to marry women (Jude 1:6 mentions this). One theory is that these 'fallen' angels are those who joined with Lucifer and where throne out (this doesn't make sense to me since he/they were cast out before there where mortal women that they could marry). Another is that they where watchers of the Garden of Eden who became vain and joined with women. Their offspring, or Nephilim, where giants and in some sources demons. They are even mentioned in Genesis 6.
My questions is, what is the church standing on this--I suppose we could call it popular stories of medevil times--and in you collective opinions (in the event that you can't find church info) is it just popular stories of the past, this fallen angel stuff, or does it actually have a bit of truth to it?
I just thought where one of the writers actually has a name that means "Angel of Death" or "Assistant to God" in Arabic that you might be able to find some sort of information, that I after 3 months have not been able to find, and may find interesting.
Thank you.

- Janeway

A: Dear Captain,

What an interesting question. It's obvious that you know quite a bit about this. I, having only a few minutes to spare during finals week, do not have the time to learn about things as deeply as you have. However, looking at what you've given me, I can take a shot.

First, a brief statement on the Apocrypha. As stated in D&C Section 91, the Apocryphal books have a lot of truth in them, but also contain many things "that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men." As such, it's important to take many of the things they say with a grain of salt, and, as the Lord instructs, to read with the Spirit, which teaches truth.

The specific teaching of the Book of Enoch that you have brought up is one such interpolation by the hands of men. At this point in the history of the world, only God the Father has an immortal physical body. Even Christ, who had not been born on the earth yet, was a spirit. Thus, the idea that there were beings with God that would be able to leave heaven and marry human (physical) women and produce offspring with them is clearly opposed to LDS doctrine.

The reference you point to in Jude is, however, perfectly true. The first estate is referring to the opportunity to come to earth offered in the premortal life. This estate was forfeited by Lucifer and his followers, and as such they were cast out of heaven. They became, in some sense of the word, fallen angels. The more appropriate term would be fallen spirits. They were cast to the earth and dwell here still.

As far as the LDS viewpoint on the Nephilim...well, that I just don't know. They are mentioned in the Bible, as you said, in Genesis 6:1-6, but I don't know really how to take the wording of that scripture. In the King James Version, the verse says that the giants were the children of "the sons of God" and "the daughters of men." The Bible, being written in a patriarchal nature, may more highly revere the position of son in relation to God, calling mortal men (as we do now) the sons of God. We also now refer to mortal women as the daughters of God, but it's possible that to demonstrate the lesser importance of the female role the daughters were referred to as the children of men, not of God. How these unions created giants, I'm still not sure.

Leave it be said: it is not possible for a spirit to father a child (as to how this relates to the parenthood of Jesus Christ, see here (last paragraph on the page)). As the fallen spirits that followed Lucifer were not endowed with physical bodies (indeed, no non-mortal was so endowed until the resurrection of Christ), they did not father children with the women of the earth.

A: Dear Janeway,

You may be interested to know that in the mid-1970s, a 13-part series of articles by Hugh Nibley was published in the Ensign relating specifically to the Apocryphal Book of Enoch and specifically its relation to the tale of Enoch as found in the Pearl of Great Price's Book of Moses.

This is, of course, a large amount of reading, and may be more than you're interested in undertaking at the present time. Luckily for you, however, I've done it for you. In Part 8, Nibley suggests that:
...the sons of God are those who accept and live by the law of God. When "the sons of men" (as Enoch calls them) broke their covenant, they still insisted on that exalted title: "Behold, we are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men?" (Moses 8:21), even as "the sons of men," reversing the order, married the daughters of those "called the sons of God," thereby forfeiting their title, "for," said God to Noah, "they will not hearken to my voice." (Moses 8:15.) The situation was, then, that the sons of God, or their daughters who had been initiated into a spiritual order, departed from it and broke their vows, mingling with those who observed only a carnal law.
Further reading is obviously in order if you're interested. It's important to note that while much of Nibley's understanding of the apocryphal Enoch is informed by Joseph Smith's revelations, these are still simply the informed conjectures of one man on an Apocrypha of which God himself declared "VERILY, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men." (D&C 91) Thus, while it seems that Brother Nibley certainly had a detailed understanding of the material available at the time, his publications have not been accepted as doctrine, and thus do not represent the official position of the Church in any way.

Allow me to thank you for asking such an interesting question. I hope my answer sheds some additional light on the topic.