The PreMortal Life
Most people believe they will live after they die. For this reason, it may not be surprising to realize we also lived before we were born, and that this life is the center of a long eternal life. Many people speak of babies coming from Heaven, and yet don’t stop to think what that means or why they believe it. Somewhere in the hearts of many are hints of remembrances of our previous life.
Mormon beliefs include the teaching that God created our spirits, and is our literal Father. After our spirits were created, we lived with Him in what Mormons call a pre-mortal life. Here we learned the gospel, developed a personal relationship with God, and progressed somewhat as we do on earth-developing talents, deciding what mattered to us, choosing what kind of person we were. We brought those personal things with us, so who we are today is in part because of who we were then. This is why babies have personalities and interests right from, and even before, birth.
This was a preparatory time for us, but our ability to progress and grow was limited in that place. For this reason, God called a council in Heaven, where He explained to us what would come next in our progression and growth. It was time for us to leave home for a while, just as you did here on earth. You might recall that once you were on your own, you had to decide if you wanted to continue living the way you’d been raised or not. This was part of the reason we had to leave our Heavenly home. Could we live the gospel when we couldn’t see God and ask Him what was true? Could we find the truth again?
There were many things to be accomplished in our time on earth. We’d receive a body and a family and try to seek truth and live it. We’d learn to have faith, something we hadn’t generally needed until the moment the Great Plan of Happiness was presented to us.
The reason we needed faith for the first time when we heard the plan was that agency-the right to choose for ourselves-was very important to God. We’d always had it. Now, as always, we could choose whether or not to accept God’s plan. We couldn’t be neutral. We could choose to follow God’s plan, or we could listen to the leading detractor of the plan.
God had explained we’d make mistakes that could keep us from being able to return home to Him. Because He loves us and wants us to make it back home, He offered to provide us with a Savior. Because redemption required a voluntary sacrifice by a perfect person, He would send someone to redeem us. Jesus Christ offered to be that person. He would live a sinless life and then voluntarily take on our sins, suffer for them, and die.
However, Lucifer disliked the plan and tried to convince us to boycott it and go with his plan instead. His idea was that we would give up our agency and go to earth completely under his control. He’d control our every thought and action and we’d mindlessly, robotically move through our life, never having an opportunity to make any choices at all. While we certainly wouldn’t sin-provided Lucifer made good choices for us-it would render our earth-life meaningless, since there would be no test involved. While Jesus wanted God to receive the glory for what He was offering to do, Lucifer wanted all the glory to go to him, and for us to worship only him. He wanted to be, as Isaiah taught, to be higher than God. (Isaiah 14:12)
And now we had to have faith. We had to choose to follow God, or to help Lucifer try to overthrow God’s plan for us. Each person who comes to live on earth chose God. Those who did not, who didn’t trust God’s plan, became followers of Lucifer. Lucifer was cast out of heaven, denied the right to come here to earth, and those who chose to follow him were also denied the opportunity to come here. They were destined to live eternity with Lucifer, now called Satan. They are miserable, and devote their entire existence to trying to make us miserable as well.
The rest of us set out for earth at our appointed times, ready for the greatest adventure of our lives. How well we succeed in our quest is entirely up to us.