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Our Pre-Mortal Understanding

   << President Spencer W. Kimball

"In the record of an outstanding vision, Abraham amplified for us the purposes of God in creating the world and placing us upon it.

"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones."  (Abraham 3:22)

In the council in heaven, the Lord clearly outlined the plan and its conditions and benefits. The earth was to be not only a place of residence for man but also a school and a testing-ground, an opportunity for man to prove himself. Agency would be given man so that he could make his own choices.

Life was to be in three segments or estates: pre-mortal, mortal, and immortal. The third stage would incorporate exaltation-eternal life with godhood-for those who would fully magnify their mortal lives.

Performance in one estate would vitally affect the succeeding estate or estates. If a person kept his first estate, he would be permitted the second or the mortal life as a further period of trial and experience. If he magnified his second estate, his earth experience, eternal life would await him. To that end men go through the numerous experiences of earth life- "to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Abraham 3:25)

We mortals who now live upon this earth are in our second estate. Our very presence here in mortal bodies attests the fact that we "kept" our first estate. Our spirit matter was eternal and co-existent with God, but it was organized into spirit bodies by our Heavenly Father. Our spirit bodies went through a long period of growth and development and training and, having passed the test successfully, were finally admitted to this earth and to mortality.

One definite purpose of our spirits coming to this earth and assuming the mortal state was to obtain a physical body. This body was to be subject to all the weaknesses, temptations, frailties and limitations of mortality, and was to face the challenge to overcome self.

While we lack recollection of our pre-mortal life, before coming to this earth all of us understood definitely the purpose of our being here. We would be expected to gain knowledge, educate ourselves, train ourselves. We were to control our urges and desires, master and control our passions, and overcome our weaknesses, small and large. We were to eliminate sins of omission and of commission, and to follow the laws and commandments given us by our Father. That the effort involved dignifies and ennobles man has been recognized by the world's great thinkers. Dante, for example, put it this way: "Consider your origin; you were not formed to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge."

We understood also that after a period varying from seconds to decades of mortal life we would die, our bodies would go back to Mother Earth from which they had been created, and our spirits would go to the spirit world, where we would further train for our eternal destiny.

After a period, there would be a resurrection or a reunion of the body and the spirit, which would render us immortal and make possible our further climb toward perfection and godhood. This resurrection has been made available to us through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of this earth, who performed this incomparable service for us-a miracle we could not perform for ourselves. Thus the way was opened for our immortality and-if we prove worthy-eventual exaltation in God's kingdom."  (Miracle of Forgiveness, by Spencer W. Kimball)

Additional Information

What We Know about Premortal Life, (Ensign Feb. 2015)

Our Premortal Life (Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Chapter 6)

Our Premortal Experience (BYU ED. Powerpoint Presentation) >> 483 KB Download