To understand the mortal life we are living and the immortal life ahead of us, we begin with the premortal council before the world was created.
Some will say, “But I have no memory of a premortal life.”
I have no memory of my premortal life, but I must also admit that I have no memory of the day I was born. Do you?
Although there may be a birth certificate or pictures to authenticate your birth date, and even personal stories from your mother, father, or grandparents, you must acknowledge that you have no actual memory of your own birth. However, couldn’t we agree that your birth certainly did occur?
Our birth, our childhood, our teenage years and beyond provide us context to who we are, our hopes and dreams, our desire to work and achieve, and our willingness to do things that are difficult for our greater long-term good.
Just as we do not remember the day we were born, we have no memory of our premortal life. Just as we rely on court documents or honest relatives to accurately recount what happened the day we were born, we place trust in the truth and accuracy of words of scripture and in modern-day prophets for a perspective that is critical for our mortality.
In the premortal Council in Heaven, the firstborn of God offered Himself to be our Redeemer: “Here am I, send me.”2 Another spirit son, Lucifer, rejected the plan of the Father and offered instead a devious plot to unconditionally save us, “without regard to individual preference, agency, or voluntary dedication,”3 with him claiming all the credit. Lucifer said, “Send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”4 He wanted nothing to do with laws, commandments, obedience, or accountability, and without these, there could be no agency.
Sadly, these false philosophies have found their way into our world as well. Korihor flattered the people, telling them that they did not need a Christ, an Atonement, or a remission of their sins because “whatsoever a man did was no crime.”5 We still find among us those who celebrate “doing your own thing” and “living your own truth” while despising authority, absolutes, and accountability. These statements are counterfeits to true happiness.
We lived before the day of birth documented by our earthly birth certificate.6 Our individual identity is stamped in us forever. If such a document existed, our premortal birth certificate would have listed God the Eternal Father as the Father of our spirits.7 In ways we don’t fully understand, our spiritual growth there in the premortal world influences who we are here.8 We accepted God’s plan. We knew that we would experience difficulties, pain, and sorrow upon the earth.9 We also knew that the Savior would come and that as we proved ourselves worthy, we would rise in the Resurrection, having “glory added upon [our] heads for ever and ever.”10
► Related Content: 9 Things You Have Forgotten About Your Premortal Life
Our Savior Jesus Christ
As participants in the premortal world, we rejoiced that the firstborn of the Father, Jesus Christ, would be our Redeemer.11 With “exceeding faith and good works”12 we were prepared to come to a world where there would be great opposition, sin, and death. We would need to overcome Satan in this world. How could we? The Apostle John declared: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”13 “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”14 The center of the plan of redemption would require our beloved Savior to “descend below all things”15 and make the ultimate sacrifice of suffering for all the sins, injustices, and death of a fallen world.
The approach to our lives changes as we awaken to God spiritually and truly believe in Him, the Savior of all mankind, and in the plan of redemption. We live our lives differently as we believe the quiet whisperings reminding us of who we really are and how valiantly we supported our Father’s plan in the premortal world. Commandments that once seemed confining are no longer a burden but a blessing in helping us find our way home. “Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption.”16
Our purpose in this life is to receive a physical body and to have mortal experiences, including the temptations and opposition of a fallen world to try and test us. Our ultimate objective is to become more like our Father in Heaven.17 As one of the Lord’s witnesses, I testify that there is nothing more important in this life than the spiritual joy and eternal blessings that come through having faith in our Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, receiving forgiveness for our sins, proving ourselves by keeping His commandments and by helping others, and finding happiness in family and other loving relationships. Awaken to God and rejoice in His plan of redemption.
In this book, Elder Andersen writes especially to those who are "awakening" unto God—those who are just beginning to discover or who seek the divine gifts and power of repentance and forgiveness in their lives. Filled with powerful doctrine along with stories and experiences, this book will help all readers become more devoted disciples of the Savior. Available now at Deseret Book stores and at DeseretBook.com.
1. William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” in The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900, ed. Arthur Quiller-Couch (1939), 628.
2. Abraham 3:27.
3. Bible Dictionary, “War in Heaven.”
4. Moses 4:1.
5. Alma 30:17.
6. See Jeremiah 1:5; Doctrine and Covenants 93:29; 138:53, 56; Moses 6:36.
7. See Hebrews 12:9.
8. President Dallin H. Oaks said: “All of the myriads of mortals who have been born on this earth chose the Father’s plan and fought for it. Many of us also made covenants with the Father concerning what we would do in mortality. In ways that have not been revealed, our actions in the spirit world influence us in mortality” (“The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, November 1993).
9. See Dallin H. Oaks, “Truth and the Plan,” Ensign, November 2018.
10. Abraham 3:26.
11. See Job 38:7.
12. Alma 13:3.
13. Revelation 12:11.
14. Revelation 7:14.
15. Doctrine and Covenants 88:6.
16. Alma 12:32.
17. See Abraham 3:24–26.