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The First Estate

by Alexander L. Baugh

First estate refers to the unspecified period of time otherwise known as premortal life. The words "first estate" in Jude 1:6 are the King James translation of the Greek arché. In other English versions the word is translated as "principality," "domain," "dominion," "appointed spheres," "responsibilities," and "original rank." In the context of Jude 1:6 each of these implies that certain intelligent beings existed in significant positions in the pre-earth life and fell from their favored status with God.

Latter-day Saints believe that all mankind were begotten as individual spirit children of God, with individual agency, prior to being born into mortality. Using this agency, a third part of these spirits followed Lucifer and rebelled against God and the Plan of Salvation that God proposed to bring about the eventual exaltation of his children through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Because of their rebellion, these spirits "kept not their first estate" (Jude 1:6) and were subsequently cast out of heaven, being denied the opportunity of having a mortal body on this earth (D&C 29:36-38; Moses 4:1-4; Abr. 3:26-28; cf. Rev. 12:4, 7-9). All the remaining spirits proved themselves sufficiently faithful to be permitted the privilege of experiencing earth life with a physical body (Abr. 3:22-26).

(See Basic Beliefs home page; See Premortal Existence home page)

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, First Estate

Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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