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Pre-mortal Existence

Before This Life, We Lived with our Heavenly Father in a Pre-mortal Existence

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The Lord told the prophet Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5).

As that scripture indicates, the Lord knew the prophet Jeremiah before this life. The Lord knew all of us before this life. We are His spirit sons and daughters.

Romans 8:16 tells us, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God".

Acts 17:29 tells us, "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.".

The Book of Job also Talks about our Pre-Mortal Existence

Job 38:4, 7 states, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?... declare, if thou hast understanding... When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

As that scripture says, when the foundation of the earth was laid (when it was created), we shouted for joy.

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More Scriptures about our Pre-mortal Existence

Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

How could we "return" to God, if we didn't live with Him previously? We did live with God and we can return to Him again if we live a good life.

John 9:1-3 “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.’”

How could the man have sinned before his birth unless he had lived before his birth. Our premortal life, as spirit children of God was full of purpose, learning, and choices. It served as our “first estate,” while earth life, away from the presence of God is our “second estate” and a continuation of our “proving” to gain the privilege of living with and like God for eternity through acquired faith in His Son as we learn to obey Him.

The following scripture talks about those receiving the priesthood, "And this is the manner after which they were ordained-being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such" (Alma 13:3).

The preceding scripture is from the Book of Mormon. Order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Paul alluded to our pre-mortal relationship with God by likening it to our relationship with our earthly fathers in Hebrews 12:9" Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?"

In Moses 6:51, we learn the following, "And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh."

“In turning to God, therefore, we are not converting—but reverting—to a holy model, “speed[ing] back to the eternal light, children to the Father.”

For William Wordsworth, the intimation of a prior existence was overwhelming—a “presence which is not to be put by.” He famously wrote that “heaven lies about us in our infancy” for the simple reason that “our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting. The soul that riseth with us, our life’s star, hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar. Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God who is our home.”

Our lives are more like a canvas on which we paint, than a script we need to learn—though the illusion of the latter appeals to us by its lower risk. It is easier to learn a part than create a work of art. The mystery is, how can I be free to shape my own desires, how can I be responsible for the inclinations of my heart, for my tendency to love light or darkness, if God created my spirit out of nothing, calling me into existence by His sovereign power, only at the moment of my birth or conception?

No, if God is the sole author of all that is, then we cannot find our way clear to believe He is not responsible for our choices.

Cambridge philosopher John Wisdom summarized: “However far back we go,” only belief in pre-existence can reconcile the principle of free will and the recognition that every event has a cause.

Our perennial longing for Home affirms a relationship rooted in the love of a child for a tender parent, not in the obsequiousness of a vassal toward his lord, or of a courtier toward his king, though He is both our Lord and King.”

Givens, Terryl; Fiona Givens (2012-10-01). The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life). Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.

If we understand more about our pre-mortal existence, it helps us understand more about why we are here on earth and what the meaning of life is.

This FARO article revised by Dr. Craig R. Frogley

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