Where did we come from?
This is one of the great questions of life, and people often wonder what mormons think of the question “where did we come from?” People commonly call this life on earth our “mortal existence.” When you ask the question “where did we come from,” the topic becomes one about the “premortal existence.”
Mortality and pre-mortal existence
Philosophers throughout time have wondered if we existed in some other place before we were born on earth. Science and philosophy will likely never answer this question, but the Spirit and the Scriptures tell us that we did live before we came to earth, and that we lived with our Father in Heaven, or God. One clear example from the Bible is when God called Jeremiah to be His prophet:
The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin.
Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
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.
Before we were born on the earth, we lived in the presence of our Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children. In this premortal existence, we attended a council with Heavenly Father’s other spirit children. At that council, Heavenly Father presented His great plan of happiness (see Abraham 3:22–26).
In harmony with the plan of happiness, the premortal Jesus Christ, the Firstborn Son of the Father in the spirit, covenanted to be the Savior (see Moses 4:2; Abraham 3:27). Those who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life. Lucifer, another spirit son of God, rebelled against the plan and “sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3). He became Satan, and he and his followers were cast out of heaven and denied the privileges of receiving a physical body and experiencing mortality (see Moses 4:4;Abraham 3:27–28).
Throughout our premortal lives, we developed our identity and increased our spiritual capabilities. Blessed with the gift of agency, we made important decisions, such as the decision to follow Heavenly Father’s plan. These decisions affected our life then and now. We grew in intelligence and learned to love the truth, and we prepared to come to the earth, where we could continue to progress.
We lived with God
To summarize, mormon’s believe that before this earth life, we lived as spirits with God, the Father of our spirits. We believe that in that premortal existence we were given a choice, and each decided to come to this earth be to gain experience and gain a physical body. That ability to choose, or agency, followed with us to this life, and this life is a test of that agency, to see whether we will choose to do the best we can, or whether we will give in to temptation to be less than we could be.
We also believe that before this life, a Savior, who is Jesus Christ, was chosen for us, and that through Him we would be guaranteed immortality through the resurrection. This knowledge, before even coming here, was a reassurance that God, because of His love for His children, would provide a way for us all to return to him.
I know that we can each study and pray for a knowledge of the fact that we existed before this life, that we have a purpose while we are here, and that at death life does not end, but that our spirits will return to that God that created them. Anyone can pray, and if a person does, they will feel and know what is right and true through the Holy Ghost.
As always, please feel free to ask any questions you may have on this or any other topic here!