Have you ever wondered why God knows you so well? It is because you once lived right in His presence, prior to your birth. Many have had a sensation of having lived before and this is how it happened.
God is the literal Father of our spirits. He created them, assigning our spirits gender and form. We looked largely as we do now, but without a body of flesh and bones. We had personality and talents and those began to take shape and to develop in that sheltered time with God.
However, no one can live a sheltered life forever and become all he is able to be. The time came when we had to leave home, so that we could test the depth of our faith, our ability to recognize truth, and to have new trials and experiences that would help us to grow.
We were called together to learn of God’s plan for our further development. He would have a world created for us to live on, away from Him, but not isolated from Him. We would always be able to access Him through faith and prayer, and He would continue to watch over us while we were away. We’d lose the memory of our time in this pre-mortal existence, but the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost would help us remember when we heard the truth, if we asked God in faith if it were true.
We were so excited by the Plan and the promises that came with it we shouted for joy. However, there were already changes coming into being. We would not be able to live a sinless life, and our sins must be atoned for. Atonement could only happen through the voluntary sacrifices of a sinless person. Satan offered to handle our eternal salvation, not through sacrifice, suffering, or pain, but by controlling our every movement and thought, so it would be impossible to sin. Of course, it would also be impossible to grow and progress, since we would have no freedom at all. Furthermore, Satan required that the glory and honor be his.
Satan’s plan would have rendered God’s plan a meaningless game. Fortunately, Jesus offered Himself as our Savior, following God’s plan exactly and offering Himself as the sacrifice for sin. He would live a perfect life for us, atone for our sins, and then voluntarily die for us.
One third of the spirits preferred Satan’s plan, seeing it as safer and easier. They, with Satan, were cast out of heaven and denied the opportunity to come to earth. Since that time, they’ve devoted themselves to making us miserable, as they are, and trying to thwart our return home to our Father.
The plan promises that if we will seek out truth, accept it, and try to live according to God’s teachings, we will be able to return home to live with God forever. Grace allows us all to be resurrected, regardless of our choices. It also makes repentance possible. The atonement takes all this further and promises we can earn the right to live forever with God and with the families God gave us and instructed us to love forever.
This plan, known sometimes by Mormons as the Great Plan of Happiness, turns ordinary life into a wonderful learning experience filled with meaning and purpose. The reward at the end is worth any amount of sacrifice and pain, because once we’ve returned home, we can have an eternity more wonderful than we can imagine.