The following blog entry is for our friend, Jeremy, who asked us questions about our beliefs at a time that we were not able to give complete answers. Hopefully, this will explain what we wanted to say and will also provide material for future conversations:
Our spirits are eternal. They existed before we came to earth and will continue to exist after we leave the earth. God is not only our Ruler and Creator; He is also our Heavenly Father. All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of God. Every person who was ever born on earth is our spirit brother or sister. Because we are the spirit children of God, we have inherited the potential to develop His divine qualities.
Our Heavenly Father knew we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left Him for a time. We needed to leave our premortal home to be tested and to gain experience. Our spirits needed to be clothed with physical bodies. We would need to leave our physical bodies at death and reunite with them in the Resurrection. Then we would receive immortal bodies like that of our Heavenly Father. If we passed our tests, we would receive the fulness of joy that our Heavenly Father has received.
Our Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present His plan for our progression. We learned that He would provide an earth for us where we would prove ourselves. A veil would cover our memories, and we would forget our heavenly home. This would be necessary so we could exercise our agency to choose good or evil without being influenced by the memory of living with our Heavenly Father. Thus we could obey Him because of our faith in Him, not because of our knowledge or memory of Him. He would help us recognize the truth when we heard it again on earth.
He has chosen the time and place for each of us to be born so we can learn the lessons we personally need and do the most good with our individual talents and personalities.
At the Grand Council we also learned the purpose for our progression: to have a fulness of joy. However, we also learned that some would be deceived, choose other paths, and lose their way. We learned that all of us would have trials in our lives: sickness, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and death. But we understood that these would be given to us for our experience and our good. If we allowed them to, these trials would purify us rather than defeat us. They would teach us to have endurance, patience, and charity
At this council we also learned that because of our weakness, all of us except little children would sin. We learned that a Savior would be provided for us so we could overcome our sins and overcome death with resurrection.
When the plan for our salvation was presented to us in the premortal spirit world, we were so happy that we shouted for joy.
We needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us how to return to our Heavenly Father. Our Father said, “Whom shall I send?" Jesus Christ, who was called Jehovah, said, “Here am I, send me.”
Jesus was willing to come to the earth, give His life for us, and take upon Himself our sins. He, like our Heavenly Father, wanted us to choose whether we would obey Heavenly Father’s commandments. He knew we must be free to choose in order to prove ourselves worthy of exaltation. Jesus said, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”
Satan wanted to force us all to do his will. Under his plan, we would not be allowed to choose. He would take away the freedom of choice that our Father had given us. Satan wanted to have all the honor for our salvation. Under his proposal, our purpose in coming to earth would have been frustrated.
After hearing both sons speak, Heavenly Father said, “I will send the first.”
Jesus Christ was chosen and foreordained to be our Savior. When Jesus lived on earth, He taught: “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. … And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day”(John 6:38, 40).
Because our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior, Satan became angry and rebelled. There was war in heaven. Satan and his followers fought against Jesus Christ and His followers. The Savior’s followers “overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11).
In this great rebellion, Satan and all the spirits who followed him were sent away from the presence of God and cast down from heaven. A third part of the hosts of heaven were punished for following Satan. They were denied the right to receive mortal bodies.
Because we are here on earth and have mortal bodies, we know that we chose to follow Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Satan and his followers are also on the earth, but as spirits. They have not forgotten who we are, and they are around us daily, tempting us and enticing us to do things that are not pleasing to our Heavenly Father. In our premortal life, we chose to follow Jesus Christ and accept God’s plan. That continues to be the choice for us while we are on earth. Will we choose Jesus, or will we choose Satan?
The right to choose between good and evil and to act for ourselves is called agency. In our premortal life we had moral agency. One purpose of earth life is to show what choices we will make. If we were forced to choose the right, we would not be able to show what we would choose for ourselves. Also, we are happier doing things when we have made our own choices.
Agency was one of the principal issues to arise in the premortal Council in Heaven. It was one of the main causes of the conflict between the followers of Christ and the followers of Satan.
Agency makes our life on earth a period of testing. Without the gift of agency, we would have been unable to show our Heavenly Father whether we would do all that He commanded us. Because we are able to choose, we are responsible for our actions.
We began to make choices as spirit children in our Heavenly Father’s presence. Our choices there made us worthy to come to earth. Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow in faith, power, knowledge, wisdom, and all other good things.
When we choose to live according to God’s plan for us, our agency is strengthened. Right choices increase our power to make more right choices.
We cannot choose righteousness unless the opposites of good and evil are placed before us.
God allows Satan to oppose the good.
When we follow the temptations of Satan, we limit our choices.
Even though we are free to choose our course of action, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. The consequences, whether good or bad, follow as a natural result of any choice we make.
Heavenly Father has told us how to escape the captivity of Satan. We must watch and pray always, asking God to help us withstand the temptations of Satan. Our Heavenly Father will not allow us to be tempted beyond our power to resist.
God’s commandments direct us away from danger and toward eternal life.