What is life like before children are born

Life before birth

Of all the great Christian churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alone teaches that man existed before earth life and lived in the premortal existence with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. “It seems very strange to me,” writes President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972), “how so many people can believe that there is a spirit in man that lives on as an immortal thing after death - but before the birth of Human beings, this spirit did not even exist. "1

The secret of life has been revealed

President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared the importance of this doctrine. “If one does not know the doctrine of premortal existence, one cannot understand the meaning of life. ... But if we understand the doctrine of premortal existence, then everything fits together and makes sense. "2

Without knowledge of the premortal existence, we cannot properly understand our relationship with Heavenly Father, nor can we fully grasp the purpose of earthly life and our divine destiny. “The doctrine of premortal existence,” said President Packer, “was known to ancient Christians. It was proclaimed for nearly 500 years, but was then rejected as blasphemy by clergymen who slipped from the faith into the dark age of apostasy. Once they rejected this teaching ... they could no longer unravel the mystery of life. It was as if they were trying to thread pearls on a string that was far too short. You just don't get all of the pearls together. "3

Man is eternal

When the Lord restored divine truth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, knowledge of the premortal existence became essential to understanding Heavenly Father's plan for our salvation. “Man was with God also in the beginning,” said the Lord. “Intelligence, or the Light of Truth, was not created or made, nor can it” (D&C 93:29). So in the sense that our intelligence has always existed, we are without beginning. However, at some point in our premortal past, spirit bodies were created for us and we literally became spirit sons and daughters of heavenly parents.4

The knowledge that we are spirit children of God, that we lived with him before we were born and that we wanted to become like him, describes our relationship with our eternal Father. Joseph Smith taught: "God himself, being more intelligent, saw that it was appropriate to make laws whereby [his children] could enjoy the privilege of advancing himself."5 For the sake of this advancement, it was important that we leave the Father's presence, that a veil of forgetfulness fall over our minds, and that by walking in faith learn to obey His commandments.

What we know

Since we came to earth to be tested and to walk in the faith, the Lord did not reveal many details about the premortal existence. However, what has been revealed is sufficient for us to be able to fulfill our purpose here on earth. A few of the revealed facts regarding our premortal existence are listed here:

  • We are literally spirit children of God and as such have the ability to become like God (see Romans 8: 16–17; D&C 93: 33–34).

  • We attended a great council in heaven where we heard of the Father's plan for our salvation. We chose to follow Jesus Christ, who was chosen to come to earth as our Savior and Redeemer, and we cheered and exulted at this wonderful prospect (see Job 38: 7; Abraham 3: 24-28).

  • Lucifer, "an angel of God who had authority in the presence of God" (D&C 76:25), said: "I will redeem all humanity that not a soul is lost" (Moses 4: 1). But he demanded that God give him his own power and glory, and he proposed that the conditions of our earthly existence be changed in such a way that our agency would be nullified. Without agency, however, we would be unable to actually become like our Heavenly Father, and so the proposal was rejected by God and two-thirds of His children. Lucifer rebelled and there was war in heaven - a war of words, a spiritual conflict; Lucifer was cast out, and with him a third of the hosts of heaven, those who followed him (see D&C 29:36). Called Satan, he and his followers are now working devilishly to destroy human souls (see Revelation 12: 7-9; D&C 29: 36-39; Moses 4: 1-4).

  • We begin mortality with no memory of our previous existence, but have individual strengths and talents as well as weaknesses that we must strive to overcome (see Ether 12:27; D&C 104: 17; 138: 55, 56; Abraham 3: 23).

  • Earth life is neither the beginning nor the end of our existence, but both a test and a decisive phase of our ongoing development. How we perform on this test will determine our future in eternity (see Abraham 3: 25–26).