- In order to become like our Heavenly Father, we had to leave His presence to be tested. If we failed, we would never be able to enter His presence again.
- We are unable to remember our pre-mortal life with Our Heavenly Father.
- We needed to gain a physical body, like His but imperfect, in order to have physical experiences, and to be tested,
Well, it all sounds a little tough. Some of us began to have some doubts about whether we wanted to do this or not. And remember, we had a choice; we didn’t have to come to this earth to be tried and tested. We could remain spirit beings as long as we wanted. Some people, disillusioned with their own lives, have been heard to claim, “I never chose to be born!” Well, they kinda did, even if they don’t remember.
Now, if we thought this all sounded too difficult, it’s because the best part of the plan had yet to be presented to us. We were worried because, all of us, without exception, would make mistakes, a poor choice or two. Upon doing so, we would immediately be divorced from God, never able to return to His presence. When we died, we would lose our bodies and become spirits again. But then we would not even be able to return to the idyllic existence that we had before mortal life. We would be locked out of God’s presence forever, a true Hell. None of us would be capable of returning on our own.
So now, what? And why did all of us now living, or who have ever lived, decide to jump into the deep end anyway and take our chances? Because of God’s love, he provided a way back to Him, even for His seriously imperfect children. Here is a short video that helps us to better understand God’s love for us:
Heavenly Father knew that we were incapable of returning to him once we left His presence. He knew we would sin, and thus be impeded from ever returning. It doesn’t sound like much of a plan, does it? We must attempt to become like Our Heavenly Father, knowing that left on our own we were guaranteed to fail; guaranteed to end up worse than when we started. But then Heavenly Father presented the final part of His plan, one that would make it possible to return to him, in spite of our imperfections; the only way to bridge that gap between Heaven and Hell. Heavenly Father would send a Savior to Earth, One who was actually capable of living a sinless life, a God Himself. And being sinless, He would be able to take upon Himself the consequences of all of our sins, take away our burdens.
We as spirits were excited about this plan! But who among us was capable of executing it? Who among us was capable of living a sinless life, of paying for everyone else’s sins? Who among us was not just a spirit, but a God? Only One.
The oldest, most ancient of the Spirits came forward, accepted God’s Plan, and offered Himself to be the Savior. He would accept and execute every facet of God’s plan and give God all the glory. His name was Jehovah. After His birth, he would be known to us as Jesus.
Jehovah had been at Heavenly Father’s side, well, forever. He was the first of God’s Spirit creations and had become a God Himself (keep in mind that “God” is not a name, although we have become accustomed to using it as such. It is a title.), even though he did not as yet have a body. He was the only Spirit capable of performing such a task, and we were overjoyed to have Him. I don’t think that anyone of us understood exactly what this would entail, the awful suffering and sacrifice that would be experienced by Him, for each of us. I still cannot comprehend it, and I’m not sure I ever will.
In this act of redemption that we did not understand fully, Jehovah would provide for each of us one free gift, and one for which we would have to pay a small portion of the purchase price – not the same price that He would have to pay, but something that we were actually capable of paying. The free gift was that of a perfected body. Although each of us must die, one day we will each be resurrected to a body that is perfect, or in other words, free from the infirmities and limitations of mortality. Everybody! Good and bad. Saint and sinner. Everybody.
But that gift still does not guarantee a ticket back into the presence of God. It does not guarantee Eternal Life. For that gift, each of us must pay a comparatively small price. We must do as the ancient prophets and apostles and Jesus taught – repent. Although not the same price that Jehovah would pay, not an easy one either. It would require some effort on our part. If we didn’t do it, even having perfected bodies, we would never be allowed back into the presence of Our Heavenly Father again, regardless of His infinite love for us.
Now it was starting to sound like a pretty good plan. We all would have a chance to become like Our Heavenly Father. That would have been great if that had been the end of it. But, no matter how good something may seem, there is someone always willing to throw a monkey wrench into it. And that monkey wrench-thrower was a spirit whose name was Lucifer.
Lucifer was also an old soul. He is referred to in Holy Scripture as a “son of the morning” meaning that he was also one of Heavenly Father’s earliest creations. He had also progressed a great deal, but unlike Jehovah, he was not a god.
Lucifer was not wild about one part of Father’s plan. He was “concerned” that many would be lost if offered the choice to repent or not. And he was right; that’s how agency works. He volunteered to go to Earth instead of Jehovah, and he would make sure that everyone complied, that everyone obeyed, or repented when they failed to obey. He promised not to lose a single soul and would return 100% of Father’s spirit children to him, ready for Eternal Life. But he would not do it for free. In exchange, He wanted the credit, the glory. He wanted to take Father’s place, since his plan was obviously so much better than Father’s and therefore he was just so much smarter. Isaiah wrote a little about this event:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Old Testament, Isaiah 14:12-14)
Sounds like Lucifer’s plan had some good points, right? I am mean, is choice all that important, if we were guaranteed a way back to Heavenly Father? Why is choice important? Watch this short presentation to help understand why Lucifer’s plan was a non-starter for us:
Father was not willing to give away our right to choose, since that was the very basis of determining who would be worthy of Eternal Life; who would actually choose it over the alternatives. So, He said no. He rejected Lucifer’s plan.
Now, Lucifer should have just accepted this decision, and gotten with the program. But he didn’t. Instead, he began to show his true colors. He got angry. He knew that others agreed with him and his plan. They sided with Lucifer, and soon Heavenly Father had a full-blown rebellion on His hands. There were not just a few that sided with Lucifer. The scriptures tell us that he succeeded in drawing away one third of the spirits from Heavenly Father. One third! John the Revelator taught:
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth . . . (Revelation 12:3-4)
Much of what John wrote in the Book of Revelation is figurative and often difficult to understand. A revelation to Joseph Smith clarified this passage, as well as the one in the next paragraph:
36 . . . for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;
37 And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels;
38 And, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell.
(Doctrine and Covenants 29:36-38)
The apostle John also tells us that there was war in Heaven. I have no idea what such a war would entail. Spirits have no bodies to wound or blood to spill. Spirits cannot be killed. All we really know is that Father prevailed, and Lucifer and his followers were cast out of His presence. They lost forever the opportunity to be tested and to receive bodies. They were doomed to remain spirits forever. They lost the opportunity for Eternal Life. John wrote:
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (New Testament, Revelation 12:7-9)
In verses 9, above, John said that God cast them down into the Earth. Poor translation. That is where we get the old tale that Hell and the devil and his followers are down below us, underground. It should have been translated to read that they were cast down onto the Earth. They are here with us to this day, all around us. They are Satan and his followers. They are the unseen spirit world, and there are a lot of them. So, what exactly are they doing here? They are trying to influence us, to drag us down, to take away from us what was taken from them – the chance to receive eternal life. Misery loves company.
So, the purposes of our earthly life are 1) to receive a mortal body and learn how to properly use it, to make us complete souls, spirit and body, just like Heavenly Father, and 2) to test us; to see if we will be obedient in all things, and thus worthy to receive Eternal Life. Satan’s mission is to get us to defile and misuse these bodies, and to get us to violate the commandments whereby we may gain Eternal Life.
So, what comes after we complete this test called mortal life? We’ll talk about that next time, on September 27, 2021. See you then!