Tuesday, September 13, 2005
My Religion and Me
Where Did I Come From?
The great thing for us… is to comprehend what God did institute before the foundation of the world.1
We have now established three marvelous aspects of the nature of man: The eternal nature of his individual intelligence, his spirit birth that made him the son of God, and the endless possibilities that these two unlock.
Now we turn our attention to the agreements, preparations, and anticipatory arrangements made before we entered mortality.
The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever “the morning stars sang together” for joy; the past, the present, and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal “now”; He knew of the fall of Adam, the iniquities of the antediluvians, of the depth of iniquity that would be connected with the human family, their weakness and strength, their power and glory, apostasies, their crimes, their righteousness and iniquity; He comprehended the fall of man, and his redemption; He knew the plan of salvation and pointed it out; He was acquainted with the situation of all nations and with their destiny; He ordered all things according to the council of His own will; He knows the situation of both the living and the dead, and has make ample provisions for their redemption, according to their several circumstances, and the laws of the kingdom of God, whether in this world, or in the world to come.2
We, too, knew much of the plan, for we who have been born on earth accepted it joyfully.
In coming here, we forgot all, that our agency might be free indeed, to choose good or evil, that we might merit the reward of our own choice and conduct. But by the power of the Spirit, in the redemption of Christ, through obedience, we often catch a spark from the awakening memories of the immortal soul, which lights up or who being, as with the glory of our former home.3
As we know, not all of our Father’s children accepted the plan as it was presented, for there was opposition. As the Prophet summarized it on one occasion:
The contention in heaven was—Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down with all who put up their heads for him.4
Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4:3-4.)
We were all present in the grand council. We saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made. Scriptural evidence shows that we not only upheld the Son, but we loved and honored him. In the conflict of wills that followed, we were among those valiant ones who accepted the plan of life and voluntarily agreed to his voluntary act to offer himself as Redeemer, Revelator, and Mediator. That Christ should be the Savior was decided by the Father and by us in premortal councils (voluntarily subscribed by us in our heavenly state) and we permanently rejected the will of a world-be usurper. He desired to force. He did not desire to save and suffer for us. (Moses 4:1-4; Abraham 3:27-28.)
As sides were taken in that mighty conflict, one-third of God’s spirit children were lost to him and cast out of heaven. The war, however, gave the faithful an opportunity to prove their loyalty. If we had not proved ourselves on that occasion (now shrouded in forgetfulness for us), we would not be here today. Our preparation for the task of earth life is the subject with which we are now concerned.
In addition to the differences which existed between those who were loyal to God and those who failed to prove themselves, there were very wide differences among those who were on the Lord’s side. We have been told that there were differences among the intelligences. Some undoubtedly progressed much more than others continuing their upward reach to improve themselves. Thus, spirits coming into this life differ widely even though all of them accepted the Lord’s plan.
A word of caution ought to be expressed concerning the limitation of deciding anything about the degree of valiancy of any one person. We should not judge ourselves or others with respect to the quality of spiritual growth determinable by observation of earth conditions or situations. We are not always able to do this except in the broadest kind of generalization. The Father has need of strong spirits in every age and every circumstance, and likewise the needs of individuals may also be considered when sending spirits down to earth. Some, therefore, who are “born in the covenant”, appear less mature spiritually and less strong in character than many born under far less favorable circumstances.
1. Joseph Fielding Smith, comp., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (
Deseret Book Co., 1938), p. 320.
2. Teachings, p. 220.
3. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (
4. Teachings, p. 357.