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.