I have come across several articles written by Evangelical Christians that claim Lucifer was a music minister in the pre-existence. Many articles refer to Ezekiel chapter 28 as proof. I have not found any mention of this in LDS literature, and am wondering if there is any Gospel basis for this. It seems to me that if Lucifer was a musician in heaven, it may be part of the reason that he works so hard to corrupt the music on earth. I would love to hear your evaluation of this claim.
In short my answer is, “I don’t know, but it’s possible.” Now for a longer answer: I’ve searched, but, like you, couldn’t find anything from our leaders addressing this topic specifically. Here’s what we do know: first, we did develop talents as spirits in the pre-mortal world. Second, Satan does try to prevent music.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:
“All the spirits of men, while yet in the Eternal Presence, developed aptitudes, talents, capacities, and abilities of every sort, kind, and degree. During the long expanse of life which then was, an infinite variety of talents and abilities came into being. As the ages rolled, no two spirits remained alike. Mozart became a musician; Einstein centered his interest in mathematics; Michelangelo turned his attention to painting. … Abraham and Moses and all of the prophets sought and obtained the talent for spirituality. …
“… When we pass from preexistence to mortality, we bring with us the traits and talents there developed. True, we forget what went before because we are here being tested, but the capacities and abilities that then were ours are yet resident within us. Mozart is still a musician; Einstein retains his mathematical abilities; Michelangelo his artistic talent; Abraham, Moses, and the prophets their spiritual talents and abilities. … And all men with their infinitely varied talents and personalities pick up the course of progression where they left it off when they left the heavenly realms” (The Mortal Messiah, 4 vols. [1979–81], 1:23, 25).
From this we can guess that Lucifer developed talents alongside us. But as to whether or not his talent was music, we don’t have enough information to say for sure. You mentioned Ezekiel. The verse that Evangelicals seem to take this idea from is Ezekiel 28:13:
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
At first glance, it might be confusing to some that this is referring to Satan at all. To clarify, this passage is comparable to Isaiah 14 where the king of Babylon is held up as a symbol of Satan from the pre-mortal existence (just as King David is often held up as a symbol of Messiah). Ezekiel 28 contains similar symbology with the king of Tyre (vs 12) getting held up as a symbol of Edenic and pre-mortal Satan (see vs 13-15: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God…. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; … Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
So, in Ezekiel’s time it was a revelation for the king of Tyre given through Ezekiel. But like so many prophetic and poetic messages, it intended another layer that is included a timeless reading. In this case, it shines light on the fall of Satan from his cherubic station. However, I did not find anything from our Leaders or scholars that hypothesized about Lucifer being a music minister.
You are correct that Satan has made a major effort to attack music. Several of our leaders have spoken of this, including President Ezra Taft Benson:
“The devil-inspired destructive forces are present in our literature, in our art, in the movies, on the radio, in our dress, in our dances, on the TV screen, and even in our modern, so-called popular music. Satan uses many tools to weaken and destroy the home and family and especially our young people.” (Satan’s Thrust – Youth, Ezra Taft Benson, 1971 Semi-Annual General Conference, Ensign found at scriptures.byu.edu)
It is possible thought that Satan uses music because he enjoys perverting something that has so much potential for good. For example, President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.”5 [In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 111. as quoted by scriptures.byu.edu]
Remember, that Satan also attempts to pervert anything else that can be used for good like the Internet, or as President Benson mentioned art, movies, radio, clothing and TV.
Something else to consider. Once a musician friend of mine shared an interesting theory. He demonstrated using music theory that, in times when religious repression in the Dark Ages was at its greatest, the music was the most sublime. It was as if the Lord granted heavenly inspiration to comfort souls. After the Restoration, despite the amazing advances in technology and science, music became increasingly corrupt, dissonant, and unholy.
Satan is like the anti-King Midas. Instead of everything he touches turning to gold, we can think of him as someone who uses every tool at his disposal for destruction. If I had to guess, I would say one of his talents was/is psychology because he certainly seems to have a knack for knowing how to get to our weaknesses, but even that could just come from careful observation.
This was a really interesting question to ponder, thanks Jenny.