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JAMES - Did our conduct in the pre-existence have any affect on the time, place and circumstance to which we have been born on
People have speculated about this over the centuries, and mostly all we have are a few hints from the scriptures and
prophets that there might have been be something we did in the pre-mortal life that determined when and where we
arrived on this earth.
The scriptures tell us that there were "nobel and great" spirits in the premortal life who were pre-ordained to be
leaders in Christ's kingdom on earth.
"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." (Abraham 3:23-24)
The phrase "many of the nobel and great ones" suggests that there is something they must have done or something in the
nature of their spirits that sets them apart from others who were not so nobel and great. And if these were to be
leaders, the time they come to the earth might be scheduled so they can be here when they are needed.
Elder Orson Pratt Pratt once said, discussing the conditions that existed in the premortal world that finally led to
the War in Heaven:
"Among the two-thirds who remained, it is highly probable that there were many who were not valiant in the war, but
whose sins were of such a nature that they could be forgiven through faith in the future sufferings of the Only
Begotten of the Father. and through their sincere repentance and reformation.
If all the two-thirds who kept their first estate were equally valiant in the war, and equally faithful, why should
some of them be called and chosen in their spiritual state to hold responsible stations and offices in this world,
while others were not? If there were none of those spirits who sinned, why were the Apostles, when they existed in
their previous state, chosen to be blessed "with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ?" All these
passages seem to convey an idea, that there were callings, choosings, ordinances, promises, predestinations,
elections, and appointments, made before the world began." (Orson Pratt, "The Pre-existence of Man," The Seer 1 (April
This could mostly be speculation based on how he interprets the scriptures.
Also from the Book of Abraham:
"These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be
another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all." (Abr. 3:19.)
In Acts we read:
"And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the
times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;" (Acts 17:26)
So according to Paul many spirits may have been foreordained to specific nations and generations ("bounds of
habitation"), as well as perhaps to families and to varied assignments, work, or missions on earth.
Elder M. Russell Ballard said of the premortal life:
"I testify that we were there, shouting for joy, as God's sons and daughters. All of us. We are good because we are
God's spirit children. He created us to be successful. We each have a personal history of success. We know that we
kept our first estate and were among "the noble and great ones" to be held in reserve until these remarkable days when
the gospel is on the earth in its fulness. Consequently, much is expected of us. We cannot afford to limit ourselves
with a lack of understanding of our divine nature and eternal potential. We must move forward in a dynamic way,
confident and secure in the knowledge of the gold that glistens within each of us just beneath the surface of
mortality." (WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED by M. Russell Ballard)
Our pre-mortal spirits were just as different there as people are here, which might be a factor in determining when
and under what conditions we are sent to earth.
We also know from the scriptures:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear
it." (Alma 13:28-29)
God will not test us beyond our ability, which might mean that He will not send our spirits into a condition on earth
that we cannot handle, based on who we were in the pre-mortal life.