When Satan gets caught in the Garden, he doesn’t own up. Satan-like, he contrives a shuffling excuse. “I was only doing what’s been done in other worlds,” he says. In so saying he had loosed a stream of Mormon speculation about what he meant.
Most of it—all of it that I’ve seen—starts with the obvious truth that God has created worlds without number. Whatever Satan meant, those must have been the other worlds, because there is no alternative.
Well, I’ve got an alternative. I got it from the devil, from when he told Adam and Eve that there was another world before the Garden where they had lived together. The pre-existence was that other world. From the standpoint of the Garden, so was the telestial world to come.
What was done in those other worlds?
The pre-existence was like the Garden. We lived innocently in the presence of God without sorrow or suffering or progress. We had to leave the pre-existence to learn and grow in a setting of mortality and sin, just like Adam and Eve had to leave the garden. The Father and Jesus said we had to. In the Garden Satan was copying them.
In this telestial life we build little gardens where we are comfortable, capable, and not exposed to temptation. We are right to do so. But God disrupts them. He calls us to move out into other spheres of activities we are not capable of doing, where we are bound to have failures and frustrations. Sometimes these are literal church callings. Sometimes they are changed circumstances in life. They are also things like baptism, priesthood, marriage, and children, for which no one can be prepared. Satan in the Garden was copying this MO.
The MO may still obtain in the life to come. It is possible that as angels we keep getting promoted to the levels of our incompetence, so we can learn by fumbling.
Whatever happened on all the other earth’s of God’s creation, Satan certainly could have been imitating what God did and does in the world of the pre-existence, in this world, and in the world to come.
Why would Satan imitate God in the Garden if he opposed Him in the pre-existence? Brother Perry imagines that it may have something to do with Satan wanting to prove that God’s plan was a mistake. Accelerationism, in other words. Another way of looking at it is through the lens of the concept of rebellious obedience. Rebellious obedience is a form of passive-aggression where you express your hostility to a subject by ostensibly going along with the subject’s plans, but with a vicious twist. “What? I was just doing what you wanted!” Anyone who has kids or a spouse or who has been a kid or a spouse or who has not been hermetically sealed in a cave all their life is familiar with the concept.
The prime scriptural example of rebellious obedience is Cain.
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Cain made a point of offering a flawed sacrifice but, hey, he was sacrificing, right? So what’s the problem, man?
Then he killed Abel. What? You told me my fruit wasn’t good enough because it wasn’t in similitude enough of the sacrifice of your son. So I sacrificed righteous Abel. Similitude enough for ya?
(Abel wasn’t the firstborn, but by offering the acceptable sacrifice he seems to have been acting in the firstborn’s role. Further, compared to Cain, he was the first unblemished child of Adam and Eve).
Satan and Cain were doing the same thing. They were cloaking their malice in pseudo-obedience so they could feel angry and justified when they were punished all the same.
Rebellious obedience is a concept that Christ later redeemed and purified in his teaching to turn the other cheek, to walk the extra mile, and to give the thief your coat also.