Pre-mortal Choices

Plotting Our Own Lives

K-Jo commented on “The Greatest Cause” and asked for more information about the idea that God sees the past, present and future, and that somewhere in our past, we agreed to the circumstances of life we now experience, and even engineered some of them ourselves.

The doctrine that God sees all things and all times is scriptural. “All things are present before mine eyes” (D&C 38:2). God’s possesses a “knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and they are to come” (D&C 93:24).

There are many accounts of God showing men a “vision of all things” which he could not do if He did not have access to this sweeping every-when vista He shares with them.

There have been thousands of years of debate about whether God actually knows all things, or if He just uses brilliant deduction to predict what will occur. The key to this issue to me is D&C 38:2, which states that all things are present before His eyes. In other words, to put it into a metaphor we can identify with, when He looks to the left, he sees yesterdays, when he looks forward He sees what we call “today” and when he looks to the right, he sees every tomorrow. In other words, He lives outside of time as we understand it. In fact, one of the grand events of the final cleansing of the earth is that time will cease. (D&C 84:100) In other words, time will cease for mortals, we will begin to live according to God’s keeping of time.

The key for my thinking is that He actually views everything and every-when. He isn’t deducing it, he sees it. This knowledge does not predestine us to any action, He just views the result of our decisions. It is this vast knowledge which gives Him, and our Savior, the ability to bless us perfectly. They can see the eternal consequence of every blessing or act they perform, before they perform it. Given that God has infinite understanding and infinite intelligence, and infinite love, this literally makes him omnipotent, or all powerful in our lives.

God’s power, his vast knowledge, his command of all things in all times, his perfect love and perfect plan for us is largely incomprehensible to us. Because we can only see “now” it is beyond our ability to understand how He does it. We can only believe, and that belief is a supreme gift.

This is comforting to me. I love knowing that everything about me is known. It gives me hope and trust in God, because I also devoutly believe He loves me, and all these struggles are being consecrated to my greatest good, to bring me those things which I want and for which I am praying. If God was guessing or predicting what I need, or how to lead me into the great and vast desires of my heart, then at some point He will guess wrong, and I will have suffered for nothing, justice will be violated, and the first time Justice falters, as Alma 42:23 says, God would cease to be God.

The idea that we, ourselves helped plan our lives arises from Abraham 3:24, “And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he 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.” In other words, Abraham plotted a course for his life, and because of his righteous choices (Alma 13), he was chosen to be a prophet in mortality. He understood this, he was ordained to it, and accepted this plan for his life before his birth. Given that agency is a powerful and inviolate principle that even God won’t abridge, it stands the test of reason that Abraham himself chose this path and worked very hard to achieve it.

Eternal law requires God to be just (Alma 42:16-23), which states in part: “But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.”

Justice would demand that all of Father’s children be treated alike – which means that if Abraham obeyed laws 1 through 10, and obtained a certain reward, any other person who obeys laws 1 through 10 must be given the same privileges and rewards. Otherwise, God would cease to be God. Ergo, we all chose the conditions of our lives now, by the laws which we chose to obey in the pre-mortal world – just as we are now choosing the conditions of our future lives by the laws we choose to obey in mortality.

Brother John

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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11 Responses to Pre-mortal Choices

  1. KP says:

    The idea that we somehow “earned” our priveledges here on this earth by how valiant we were in the pre-earth life has always bothered me a little bit. It has always seemed to be short on the side of full knowledge and understanding. I believe that some very elect and chosen people on the Earth now have some of the worst conditions known to man and don’t seem to have all the talents and gifts that others have. When I started to understand that the ‘conditions’ were what we chose, not just the talents and gifts etc then it started to make more sense to me. I can see some choosing really hard situations and families etc so they could learn and grow and bless those around them. Not just the wonderful family like Joseph Smith was born into are gifts, but the hard ones are too. I really think we chose the situation that would bring the most growth to us according to our abilities and the counsel of Heavenly Father and Christ. I know who I was before this Earth was created and I know that if I had to look at my life now and discern how I got the family and situation I did it would not make any sense to me; except that I chose it and wanted these experiences. I wanted the growth these things would provide, including weaknesses and lack of talents, etc. It is exactly what I needed and what will bring me the most growth and happiness and where Heavenly Father wants me.


  2. ST says:

    Very enlightening. Thank you. What is your opinion on these verses as you read on in Abraham “24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;”?
    Obviously there are some on this earth, like Abraham that had reached godlike status. Joseph Smith himself said there were those who exalted themselves to be Gods before the world began. In verse 24 there are those who are helping in the creation of the earth “whereon THESE may dwell.” In verse 25, it is obvious there are two classes of people on this earth. Those who are proving others and those who are here to be proved, “WE will prove THEM.” My understanding is that the only way we know which one we are is by personal revelation. Your thoughts?


    • Dear ST,

      Those are interesting observations. I had not been led by the Spirit to ponder them in that way. I do believe that some, maybe many of those living in the latter days had achieved greatness in the pre-mortal life. I’m not sure if “god” is the right term, because that implies glory and dominion and worship by others, but greatness of knowledge, priethood power and character. I believe we will see those same rise up to greatness again as the final scenes open above our heads.

      I do also believe that only by the HS can we know who we are and what our life’s work should accomplish. Interesting thoughts.



      • ST says:

        It is interesting to ponder. Abraham 4 and 5 refers to the “Gods”. To me the connection is made by reading Abraham 3:24 when it refers to Jesus Christ standing among the noble and great ones and telling them “We will go down…and we will make an earth.” Then in Abraham 4- “1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, THAT IS THE GODS, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.” What I don’t completely understand yet is if this is true, how were they exalted before they were born? Some would explain this with the doctrine of eternal lives. I haven’t made that leap yet per se.


        • You are in over my head. I would love to understand the beginning of things. I have pondered these things extensively, but the Lord has never given me a unique insight into those vast things, only peace that it is far more than we can understand as mortals. Thanks for your ideas and comments. One day we will know for sure, but it will probably be after there is no mortal veil in place.


  3. Victoria says:

    Nicely explained.

    In addition to the D&C scriptures, I’ve always told our kids that it’s like God has a videotape of our lives and can watch any part of it that He chooses to. But we are the ones making the choices in our lives that determine what goes on the tape.


  4. Victoria says:

    Oh, Kim–

    Hope you don’t mind me intruding with this comment, but I can’t even imagine what all must be going on with your family now. My heart hurts from reading this, and I too will be praying for you and your family.

    It’s true that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. But when we are in the midst of feeling that sorrow, kind words and acts from others can be so comforting. I hope you have loving friends and family surrounding you in this.

    Lots of love to you, sweetie.



  5. kim davis says:

    Todays post is timely for me- I believe I understand what you are saying. Two weeks ago my husband passed away from an accidental gun shot. This has turned mine and my three children lives upside down. I know without doubt that it was his time to go. I know that somehow I said yes to this a long time ago. I know that this is the best way. This knowledge does not make the pain go away and we get to go through hard times ahead as well. To the deepth that I have felt pain and sorrow I have also felt complete peace and comfort- to be still. In my heart this is the song I sing- ” Lord hear my praise, God , feel my love, Father be thanked night and morning, sweet day of grace, when Jesus came to save me, Lord hear my praise to your glory . ” (written by Kenneth Cope)


  6. K-Jo says:

    Thank you, John.


  7. Amber says:

    I have felt this too, but with a few missing pieces so that I could never quite explain it out loud. Thank you for putting it all together. Once again, a topic that frequently comes up that no one seems to fully understand.


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