I’m not one to defend the beliefs of Mormonism or the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The religion is absolutely false, is not compatible with Christianity and does not have a single shred of historical evidence to support even the secular details of its historical assertions.
However, I must defend them against the erroneous claim that the Angel of Light (the angel Moroni) is Satan based upon a dubious claim that Satan is called the Angel of Light in Scripture, and that therefore, the reference in the Book of Mormon is a clear reference to the person of Satan.
I strongly believe that this is simply one of those cases where long ago secular culture hi-jacked or twisted, unintentionally, a Scriptural truth, and that it has permeated full circle back into the Church, kind of like how many people believe that the concept of cleanliness is next to Godliness is in the Bible (its not).
There are two primary places where Satan is discussed in the context of being a being of Light. The first is from Isaiah 14:
How you have fallen from the heavens, O Morning Star, son of the dawn! How you have been cut down to the earth, you who conquered nations!
The verse in context is speaking about the downfall of the King of Babylon, but it could be speaking also of the plight of Satan before the beginning of time, which is also described in Revelation 12. Now, in the Latin Vulgate, O Morning Star, is translated from the Hebrew הֵילֵל as Lucifer. Most modern English translations outside of the King James Version (which retains the Latin word) render the interpretation as morning star or sometimes day star.
Now the other place that speaks about Satan being of Light is in the New Testament:
And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11:14
I hopefully don’t have to state the obvious, but I will here. If and when we use this verse to give Satan the name of Angel of Light or Lucifer in order to say that anything that references the angel of light as a reference to Satan we are being dishonest. If we read the sentence it clearly says that Satan masquerades, he pretends to be an angel of light. The implication here is that angels of light are good! And that is why Satan is so dangerous because he pretends to be an angel of light. Like all angels, Satan was created good and beautiful and wise. He was an angel of light. But he no longer is. He is now the prince of darkness and the father of lies. Satan is not an angel of light any longer.
I also want to point out the fact that the Latin Vulgate, in which the term Lucifer made its appearance, does not restrict the usage of the term as a reference to Satan but uses the term in multiple places to describe other things: 2 Peter 1:19, Job 11:17, Job 38:32, and Psalm 110:3, all in reference to the morning star, or the light of the morning. There are other places where morning star is translated as stella matutina (which is a more literal translation), including Sirach 50:6, Revelation 2:28 and Revelation 22:16 in reference to Jesus.
Historically the Church has used the word Lucifer to refer to other things, showing that the Latin term, unlike the English term, was never meant to refer only to a fallen angel. At least two bishops have born the name Lucifer: St. Lucifer of Cagliari and Lucifer of Siena. The term has even been applied to St. John the Baptist and Jesus himself in early Christian hymns. Does this mean that St. John the Baptist and Jesus are really Satan?
In fact, the term is still used to refer to Jesus at the Easter Vigil Mass during the singing of the Exultet when praying about the Paschal candle.
So what exactly is my point? Why am I writing this? Do I not believe Mormonism to be a false religion? Do I believe in the Angel Moroni?
No. Absolutely not. My point is that reference to Moroni is not some kind of nail in the coffin against Mormonism. There are far greater issues with Mormonism as a religion than the reference of the Angel of Moroni being the Angel of Light. In the first place, neither the Bible nor Tradition give Satan the official title of Angel of Light. It simply says that he was at one point of light and can continue to masquerade as an angel of light. And in the second place, if this is enough to discard Mormonism, it is enough to discard Christianity because the last and greatest prophet, John the Baptist, and our Savior himself, have been referred to in the same fashion.
If you were to use this argument against a Mormon, you might be successful due to the fact that Mormons don’t actually know much about Scripture or history, but it would be a false and dishonest victory. It is exactly the same argument that Fundamentalist Christians use against Catholics when claiming that our version of Mary is really the Babylonian pagan goddess that was referred to as the Queen of Heaven (probably Ishtar). It is an intellectually ignorant or dishonest argument and is unfair to Catholics, just as this is unfair to Mormons.
There are real issues with Mormonism, but this is not one of them. I would suggest using others when discrediting this cult.