"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally." - The Family: A Proclamation to the World
"Every person who came to earth voted to follow the Savior’s plan in the pre-mortal existence." (Chapter 16, Successful Marriages and Families)
We All Lived With Heavenly Father
After the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, many truths were revealed. Precious things were lost through apostasy. The authority of the Priesthood was taken from the earth. "Not only was the doctrine of the eternal family lost to mankind in the centuries following the deaths of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, but the doctrine of the pre-mortal existence of the soul was also taken from the earth." (Judd, 2016)
We all lived with Heavenly Father as spirit sons & daughters before we accepted the plan of happiness. “All people who come to this earth and are born in mortality, had a pre-existent, spiritual personality, as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father” (Statement of the First Presidency, 1912, p. 417, 1993 General Conference, Oaks). We are here to learn and grow by experiencing mortality. Mortality certainly isn't perfect, as we will all experience trials, sorrow, and pain. We also will experience joy and happiness! Because Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for all of us, He wants us to do everything we can to return to Him.
“Notwithstanding this fact that our recollection of former things was taken away, the character of our lives in the spirit world has much to do with our disposition, desires and mentality here in mortal life.” (Joseph F. Smith, 1916, p. 426) Although we do not remember when we lived with Heavenly Father, He has given us tools to find our way back to Him. Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son, died for our sins. Because of His sacrifice, we can return to Him. We. each are individuals created in the image of God with special unique gifts and talents.
Mortal Life & the Adversary
Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 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...Although Satan and his followers have lost their opportunity to have a physical body, they are permitted to use their spirit powers to try to frustrate God’s plan. This provides the opposition necessary to test how mortals will use their freedom to choose. Satan’s most strenuous opposition is directed at whatever is most important to the Father’s plan. Satan seeks to discredit the Savior and divine authority, to nullify the effects of the Atonement, to counterfeit revelation, to lead people away from the truth, to contradict individual accountability, to confuse gender, to undermine marriage, and to discourage childbearing (especially by parents who will raise children in righteousness)."
Satan does not want Heavenly Father's children to follow His plan, so he attacks anything that will stop it. The family is one of his main focuses. If he can get a family separated, he has succeeded. If he tempts one of Heavenly Father's children to do anything that is against His Plan of Happiness, he has won. In the world today, there are temptations everywhere. Because we are in the Last Days, Satan is trying everything he can to destroy Heavenly Father's plan. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has given us the these incredible gifts to:
- Be baptized by immersion by one with authority
- Receive the Holy Ghost
- Take the sacrament weekly
- Receive the priesthood
- Receive temple endowment & sealing ordinances
- Endure to the end
Enduring to the end is for me, the hardest step of all. We have done everything Heavenly Father has asked us to do and yet we still face trials. I have found that trials bring me closer to God as I choose to rely on Him. When I begin to doubt, fear takes over and it feels hard to feel the Holy Ghost. We must stay on the covenant path and do our best to follow His great plan. Because of Satan's attempt on attacking individuals and families, we can do these things to overcome his temptations:
- Reading scriptures such as The Holy Bible & Book of Mormon
- The Sacrament
- Visiting the Temple & doing work for our ancestors
- Priesthood Blessings
All of these things will help us to feel the spirit of the Lord and be able to discern good & evil. "Thankfully, latter-day prophets and apostles assure us that the Atonement and sealing ordinances are sufficiently powerful to eventually bring salvation to the children of parents who diligently seek to keep their temple covenants." (Hawkins, 2016) It is so very important to keep on the covenant path and to trust in the Lord. As we keep Jesus Christ as our foundation, we will be guided to choose good and to find joy in this life and the world to come!
“this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:32).
“Chapter 16: They Cannot Be Lost: Temple Covenants Save Families” Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives, by Kyle L. Pehrson, Ron Cook, and Nancy L. Madsen, Alan J. Hawkins et al., BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2016.
“The Great Plan of Happiness" 1993 General Conference, by Dallin H. Oaks. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/plan-of-salvation/the-great-plan-of-happiness?lang=eng
Joseph Fielding Smith, “Is Man Immortal?” part 3, Improvement Era, March 1916, 426
"Sons and Daughters of the Eternal Father" Chapter 37. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” (1995, November). Ensign, 25, p. 102.