Our Life Before
“The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” the Family Proclamation states. We sing the words, “I have a family here on earth,” but we could also sing, “I have a family there in heaven.” In 1909, the First Presidency of the Church issued an official declaration concerning the spiritual as well as the temporal origin of man. Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund wrote: “All men and women are in similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.”
Just as mortal beings take on their physical bodies in a procreative process involving both an earthly father and an earthly mother, the birth of spirits came about “in like manner.” This important truth implies that not only a Heavenly Father is needed in the spiritual procreative process but also a Heavenly Mother.
So what does it mean to be a begotten child of God—a daughter or son of heavenly parents? President Lorenzo Snow taught:
There is a nature of deity in the composition of our spirits. In our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capability, powers, and faculties which he himself possesses, as much so as the child on its mother’s bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, power and susceptibilities of its parents.
TALENTS AND ABILITIES DEVELOPED IN THE SPIRIT WORLD
Each child born inherits certain qualities and characteristics from his or her physical parents. In a real yet spiritual sense, each child of Heavenly Father likewise inherits characteristics and capacities from his or her divine parents. These capacities may not necessarily be talents such as athletic ability or artistic gifts, but no doubt all spirit sons and daughters of God inherit divine traits, characteristics, and spiritual gifts. Like here on earth, we were able to develop talents and abilities that would not only bless our own lives but also bless and help others.
We readily accept that “whatever principle of intelligence we attain in this life” goes with us into our next estate (D&C 130:18–19). It is reasonable to assume that the intelligence (light and truth) we acquired in our premortal home, along with talents and abilities, dispositions, and desires there developed came with us into this life and influence us here. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
Being subject to law and having their agency, all the spirits of men, while yet in the Eternal Presence, developed aptitudes, talents, capacities, and abilities of every sort, kind, and degree. . . . 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.
PREMORTAL PRIESTHOOD AND CHURCH ORGANIZATION
Prophets of the Restoration have declared that priesthood authority and Church organization existed in the premortal courts of the Father. The Prophet Joseph Smith stated:
The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent.
The Prophet clearly states that priesthood is eternal, and that through that eternal channel comes the knowledge and instruction necessary to prepare the spirit children of God for eventual exaltation. Just as the Church is the “kingdom of God on earth,” there is a “kingdom of God in heaven”—a Church organization of some sort that, by the power of the priesthood, administers the work of preparation and salvation within that sphere. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: