Hey guys, Dave here. You know those quiet moments in life when you’re looking at the stars and you just kind of ask God in your head … “Answer my questions. Where do I come from? And why did you send me here?” Well, today we’re going to see how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would answer those questions and others.
Where do we come from?
Why are we here, what is the purpose of life?
And where are we going after we die?
The answers to these questions outline what Latter-day Saints call the Plan of Salvation. Understand going into this, as you’ll see, a lot of these teachings come from extra-biblical scripture. So if you’re looking for each of these doctrines to be spelled out plainly in the Bible, you’re probably going to be disappointed, just forewarning you. So, I’m going to give you a bird’s eye view of the Plan, and in subsequent videos, I’ll get into more detail about each part.
First, where do we come from? Let’s answer this with a story.
Latter-day Saints believe that before we existed on earth, our spirits existed, and we all lived as a family with our Heavenly Father. We call this the pre-mortal life, or the pre-existence. You were still you. You developed a personality and attributes and could make your own choices there similar to how you do now. We were happy, but at that point, we could not realize our full potential. And so, God presented us with a choice. He’d formulated a plan that could help us become more like Him. A way for us to increase in knowledge, in power, in capability, and in joy. A plan to maximize and reach our full potential. That plan included coming to earth, obtaining a physical body, and making choices between good and evil.
You and I agreed to that plan. That’s how we ended up here. But some members of our spirit family, led by a spirit named Lucifer, disagreed with the plan. They thought it would be better if each of us was guaranteed eternal life, despite our choices. It was a flawed plan, and God rejected it. Lucifer and his followers got angry, rebelled, and were banished to earth. These spirits are still here, invisibly still trying to get us to rebel against God’s plan any way they can. The same beef they had then is still nagging at them now. Talk about holding a grudge.
Adam and Eve were the first of God’s children to receive physical bodies on earth, as per the original plan. But then something happened. They disobeyed God, and mankind fell. Adam and Eve’s decision dropped two obstacles on our path to returning and becoming more like our Heavenly Father.
The first one is physical death. One of the purposes of earth life was to receive a physical body. But because of death, we’re going to lose that body. And that sucks.
The second obstacle is spiritual death, or the spiritual separation from God caused by sin. God cannot tolerate sin. So, the fact that each of us has sinned is a major problem. So what do we do?
Well, it’s all part of the plan. God had foreseen the danger these obstacles posed, and His son, Jesus Christ, volunteered to help out. Jesus Christ is central, vital, essential to the Plan of Salvation. Only through Him can we overcome the two obstacles that block our path back home. Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless life. Yet in the Garden of Gethsemane, He took upon himself every single sin mankind had, has, and will have to offer. He felt them. He experienced them. He suffered for them. He paid the price for them. His suffering allows each of us to repent and be forgiven for our sins. Only through this continual process can we become spiritually clean again.
But there’s still one obstacle left — physical death. As you know, Christ died on the cross. His body was sealed in a sepulcher. Three days later, He took his body back. He broke the chains of death, and extends that same blessing, for free, to each of us. Each of us, righteous or wicked, will receive a resurrected, immortal, physical body one day.
If not for Jesus Christ, we simply could not overcome the obstacles of the Fall. We would be worse off than if we’d never chosen God’s plan to begin with. We’d end up as disembodied sinful spirits, like Satan and his followers. Forever separated from our Heavenly home. That is why Latter-day Saints and other Christians are so crazy about Jesus Christ. He saves us.
Now, we’re not done with the plan yet. We’ve still got to cover a few important points about the purpose of life and a ton of stuff about the afterlife, but this is a good stopping point for this video. If you want to learn about the rest of the plan, subscribe to the channel and make sure to watch Part Two coming out next week. Once it comes out we’ll link it up here somewhere.
There are stories in the Bible that hint at pre-mortal life. When Mary the Mother of Christ visited her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant. In Luke 1:39 – 44 it says,
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
The Lord says to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, “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.” Latter-day Saints believe that all the prophets who have served mankind during mortality were foreordained to their callings during pre-mortal life. They were valiant there, and they are valiant here. Foreordination is not the same as being predestined. Foreordination means a person has agency in mortality to fulfill his calling or not. If he fails to live up to his pre-mortal commitments, the Lord can raise up another to take his place.
Latter-day Scripture called The Book of Abraham in The Pearl of Great Price shows the Lord speaking to Abraham (Abraham 3:22, 23):
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; 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.
What can it mean to you to know that you have always existed and that you are an eternal being? You lived with Christ for a very long time before you were born into a mortal body. The fact that you exist in mortality means that you stood with Christ against the forces of Satan in pre-mortal life. You may have known your best friends and family there, along with many other people you can rediscover after mortality.
It is God’s will that you don’t remember the pre-mortal existence. God wants us to have a full array of choices while we are here on earth. If we remembered pre-mortality, it would change everything. But you will remember it all once you leave your mortal existence. God has big plans for you, much bigger than what mortality has to offer. Our mortal life on earth is just a blip in the wide expanse of eternity, and it is meant to prepare us for an exciting afterlife of progression and joy. And mortality is not the beginning of your great adventure.