It’s not uncommon to hear and think about life before life; Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”)–Christians who profess that the Savior has restored all truth to the earth again in our day–believe in the doctrine of pre-mortal life, life before life as well as life after life, or life after death. Reincarnation is a distortion of the reality that we have lived before; it plays with that notion and insists that we come back in different forms to earth. Instead, we are unique; our intelligence or spirit has existed, and will exist forever. Mortality is a second estate. Our first home is heaven, and our return will be to heaven, as spirit children of Heavenly Parents. You may be familiar with these Wordsworth lines:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life‘s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
In his “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” Wordsworth penned his own recollection of childhood and conveyed thoughts which he described as the “presumptive evidence of a prior state of existence.” He wrote:
I think it right to protest against a conclusion, which has given pain to some good and pious persons, that I meant to inculcate such a belief. It is far too shadowy a notion to be recommended to faith, as more than an element in our instincts of immortality. But let us bear in mind that, though the idea is not advanced in revelation, there is nothing there to contradict it, and the fall of Man presents an analogy in its favour. Accordingly, a preexistent state has entered into the popular creeds of many nations; and, among all persons acquainted with classic literature, is known as an ingredient in Platonic philosophy….Having to wield some of its elements when I was impelled to write this poem on the “Immortality of the Soul,” I took hold of the notion of preexistence as having sufficient foundation in humanity for authorizing me to make for my purpose the best use of it I could as a poet.
Mormon Beliefs: Pre-Mortal Life, Life Before Life
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaim a belief in a pre-mortal life. This site explores that belief and its implications for the moment, for all of mortality, and for the hereafter.
In short, Mormon doctrine includes the primary notion that we are literally, actually, the very children of God. Pause. We are gods in embryo; we have a Father and Mother who are constantly caring for us, working all things to our potential and who are not distantly but actively and closely involved in our lives–whether we regard them or not. They desire our joy and our eternal lives, our fulness of accomplishment, our personal and familial happiness.
The teaching that God is the Father of all is found throughout the Bible. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ taught that we are children of our Heavenly Father, and he did so not just once, but eleven times, including in verse 48, wherein He says, “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” Other passages in Hebrews teach this same Christian and therefore, Mormon, doctrine with clarity. Hebrews, chapter 12, for example indicates, in a passage I love, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Another passage in the gospel of John illustrates compellingly that the Savior’s apostles knew that we lived prior to birth. It reads in chapter 9, verses 1-3:
Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
We are literally God’s children, spiritually begotten of Him! We lived for eons in His presence, prepared to take on an earth-life to grow–an away-from-heaven school–and to make decisions that could only be made without visibly being in the presence of our Eternal Parents but with their help if sought.
We invite you to learn more, encourage you to pray and ask God if these things are true or not, and to receive your answer, for He will answer you in a way that you will be able to discern.