Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where Do We Come From?

Now for a little more serious topic.

First of all, I want to tell all of the readers, commenters and named/anonymous givers of gifts/letters/notes/etc. that I am SO extremely grateful for your kindness. The amount of support we have received (and continue to receive) from friends and strangers is truly humbling. In my own prayers, I pray that you will feel the peace of heart that comes in knowing you are helping another in need.

To the commenter Kathryn_m from yesterday, I would point you to the two links below for information on our pre-earthly life:

First, is a small informational site on mormon.org. I think this one is pretty simple and 101 in nature and doesn’t source much of the information but is useful from a basic standpoint:


The second link is to a lesson in our Sunday School manual (Gospel Principles) of basic gospel tenets that includes some scriptural reference as well as words from modern-day prophets:


In pondering the origin of our spirits, we have to understand first of all that God is our Father. As Jesus taught his disciples about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, he referred to God as “your father” (Matt 6:8, italics added) and “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt 6:9, italics added). Thus, we share the same spiritual Father with Our Savior, Jesus Christ. (See also Acts 17:28-29)

In addition, the Old Testament states that God is the “…God of the spirits of all flesh…” (Numbers 16:22)

Now, one can obviously assume through these scriptures that even though God is the father of our spirits, that the inception of that spirit was at birth. However, the following scriptures are my favorite Biblical references to a premortal existence of our spirits. The first one comes from Jeremiah and shows God’s close relationship to Jeremiah (and likely other prophets of the Bible) before his birth:

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. (Jeremiah 1:5)

In speaking about death and our immortality Ecclesiastes says (note the use of past tense)

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecc 12:7)

Paul, in an epistle to the Ephesians, said:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love (Ephesians 1:4)

Now, I have read several explanations of these scriptures by leaders of differing faiths on the Internet, all reconciling these scriptures to their overall view of the nature of mankind’s spirit. Each came to his own conclusion and I respect their beliefs. For me, I believe in the literal reading of these scriptures. Namely, that we existed before birth and that we had a relationship with our Father in Heaven before coming here. This also shows the need for a prophet (or mouthpiece of God) to, at times, clarify existing scripture (See Amos 3:7). Otherwise, we are left to the differing viewponts of such fundamentally important facts about our existence (see 2 Peter 1:20). Most of the more fleshed out, detailed information we have about our premortal existence comes from modern-day prophets (including some modern-day scriptures in Doctrine & Covenants below) that is fully inline and in tune with the above scriptures from the Bible.

For the LDS crowd, here are some additional scriptures (from the LDS cannon) that talk about our premortal existence:

Alma 13:3 – “And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God”
D&C 93:29 - Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
D&C 138:56 - Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.
Moses 3:5 - For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.
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.

NOW: why does this knowledge help me? Of what use is it to me? Look, I’m a pragmatist and realist, which is why I ask the question. Knowing that I was with Father in Heaven before birth, makes me feel closer to God and have a closer relationship to Him because I know that I didn’t just pop into existence in the 70s. The eternal nature of our souls puts this life into perspective as the pivot point from which we can catapult ourselves into God’s family or waste away in mediocrity. As a Christian, I believe that the only way we can find that pinnacle of getting back to our Heavenly Father is through the atoning sacrifice (i.e. mercy) of our Savior Jesus Christ.

In light of the events in our family, I feel the eternal perspective gives Camille a greater role in our family especially in light of the fact that we only had her for 14 months in this one. I think about how Stephanie and I could have had a great relationship with her before this life that will continue on in the next one. At the end of the day, each of us can choose whether or not we believe this.

As for me, this Good News gives me hope and joy.

12 comments:

www.adorn-jewelry.blogspot.com said...

Great post Jon. I aspire to be a scriptorian, like yourself. seriously. I admire that so much. Thanks for giving steph a break. Hope she got a good nap in on this sabbath day of rest. Thanks for being such a great husband to her!
love you.
emily

kathryn_m said...

Dear Jonathon:

I want to send you my heartfelt thanks for this response.

I asked this question ernestly and really hoped for a response. You have given me much to read, think and pray about. I will respond in greater detail once I have done so but wanted you to know, asap, just how very much this means to me.

Sincerely,
kathryn_m

Shanan said...

While I read your comments, Jon, I knew that you believed everything you wrote. Thank you for your teachings and testimony.

Carolyn said...

Dear kathryn_m,

Of course you don't know me, and maybe you won't even read this comment, but... I'm so glad Jonathan felt the desire to respond to your question personally. When I read your previous comment my husband and I had you in our prayers that you would be able to find the answers, from God, that you are searching for. I agree with everything Jonathan has said and humbly would like to bear to you my testimony of these things.

I truly believe that we lived with Heavenly Father before we came to this earth. I believe Jesus Christ is literally our Savior and spiritual elder brother. I know they love each of us and long for us to find our way back to live with them again.

I believe the Lord has provided a way for us to know his plan through scriptures and prophets and personal revelation. I believe Joseph Smith, in direction from God, restored the same gospel to our day that was taught when Jesus was on the earth. And now we have a prophet living today leading and guiding the Lord's true gospel.

When we pray to Heavenly Father with our honest sincere questions, especially about our eternal existence, we will feel his love and through the Holy Ghost know the answers. I hope you feel his love for you. Through this same method God's children can come to know that his servants, the prophets, are truly sent from him.

kathryn_m said...

Dear Carolyn:

Many thanks for your addendum to Jonathon's post.

Heavenly Father knows my questions and I had no doubt that I would be shown the answers. He has shown me His love on this very blog through strangers taking the time to share and offer their service to me.

Ever since Stephanie first made reference to this a few weeks back, it struck me as THE TRUTH and I knew then, as I do now, that I needed to follow the trail to my enlightenment.

Please know that The Lord has used you both as tools to my discernment and I truly thank you & your husband for your prayers on my behalf.

I am feeling The Spirit very strongly tonight as I read & pray on this matter.

More later....

In His steps,
kathryn_m

Jonathan Waite said...

kathryn_m -- if you need any additional information, let me know. I haven't put my e-mail up because if you didn't read my last post, I'm a blogging novice. However, you can contact me or my wife through her e-mail (on her profile).

Heidi said...

That Good News gives me hope and joy, too. I love the gospel. And I love the Comforter.

kathryn_m said...

Hi Jonathon:

I have a list of questions that I am checking off as I find the answers. I have lots to explore!!

I will no doubt have some unanswered questions and, if so, I will e-mail them to Stephanie rather than hi-jack her wonderful blog.

It is very kind of you to offer. I would be remiss not to also thank Stephanie for allowing you to to be "boss-blogger" today :-)

Shanna said...

Hi Stephanie and Jonathon,

My sister is Gina Michaelson, and I have been reading your blog since a couple of days after your cute baby girls passing. Please know that your family has been in my family's thoughts and prayers. I am so thankful that Heavenly Father has a plan for us! Thank you for sharing some of your life with all of us. You are inspirational, and have made me look at my trials differently; learn as much as I can from them and be better because of them. I am grateful for all of your posts and the things that I have been able to think about and ponder...You guys are helping many people, a silver lining in a BIG trial. Love, Shanna

Marleen said...

All of this has been so inspiring to read.

Jonathon, I have been blessed to have you as a brother in my life and grateful for your spirit filled words.

Kathryn_m, your comments have inspired me to further my knowledge in God in a more organized way (the list of questions so simple I love that). Also, thank you for your sincere questioning and heartfelt gratitude. I find it amazing how teachable and humble you are in your comments. Thank you.

Darleen said...

All very inspiring and true. Thanks for your post Jonathan! Love you alots!

Michelle said...

I have been a member of the LDS church for 7 years and am learning new things all the time about the gospel and how great the Plan of Salvation is.

In Relief Society on Sunday I learned that while on Earth, if a baby dies then that child will come forth in the first resurrection as a baby. I'm sure that is a great comfort to know you can still raise your little ones. I always wonderd about that.

I may have misunderstood but I think that is what she was teaching us.