There are many questions about our existence. Before being born, did we live in some other form? If so what form? Did we know others? Did we know God? Why I am on the earth and what is my purpose?
In the scriptures we can find answers to some of these important questions.
Before birth we existed in spirit form, as children to our Father in Heaven. Our physical bodies were made in the image of our spirit bodies. The apostle Paul explained:
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God…” (Acts 17: 29 in the Bible)
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us… shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12: 9 in the Bible)
Thus prior to our birth into mortality, we existed as men and women in a spirit state in the presence of God. This is also referred to as the “First Estate” or “Pre-Existence” of each son and daughter of God.
Apparently our spirits enjoyed agency as we grew in knowledge and experience in our heavenly home. Some spirits progressed faster than others as they exercised their agency and gained strength.
To the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord revealed, “…Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1: 5 in the Bible)
To the prophet Abraham, the Lord said, “…These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” (Abraham 3: 23 p. 35 in the Pearl of Great Price)
The scriptures teach us that Satan (the Devil) fought (words, ideas and keeping the commandments) with our Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12: 7-9 in the Bible)
The earth was organized for the sons and daughters of God to continue their progression. The Lord taught the prophet Job that the sons and daughters of God were excited about coming to the earth to further their progression. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 7 in the Old Testament)
A veil of forgetfulness is drawn over our memory of our pre-existence in order to live by faith.
Wordsworth wrote, “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting…Trailing clouds of glory do we come from God.” (Ode, Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of early Childhood, verses 58, 64-65)
Earth life presents many challenges for us to further our progression. Our key challenges are:
Controlling our physical bodies: It is difficult for our eternal spirit to learn to control our physical bodies according to the commandments and direction from our Heavenly Father.
Learn to live by faith: The apostle Paul said, “But without faith it is impossible to please God…”
(Hebrews 11: 6 in the Bible)
Keeping the commandments of God: The Savior said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”
(John 14: 15 in the Bible)
Love, service to others and righteousness should become our motivation in life: The Savior taught, “…That ye love one another; as I have loved you…” (John 13: 34 in the Bible)
An ancient prophet explained, “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2: 17 p. 148 in the Book of Mormon)
The Savior further instructed us on this subject, “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.” (Doctrine and Covenants 58: 27-28 p. 105)