Mormonism's Teaching on pre-existence
Did everyone pre-exist in heaven?
Because of Joseph Smith's background in the occult he made a new religion which synthesized the marriage of the occult with elements of Christianity. What is taught today is what Smith and his predecessors gave; that we would become gods, that Lucifer and Christ were spirit brothers. Mormonism teaches that everyone on earth pre-existed as spirits by heavenly parents.
Did We Exist as Spirits in Heaven Before Earth?
“We were first begotten as spirit babies in heaven and then born naturally on earth” (Journal of Discourse, Vol. 4, p. 218).
The plan of the parent gods in Mormonism goes like this: “Life for you did not begin here on earth. You lived before you were born you will live on in the spirit world after your mortal life is ended.” “We all once lived in the presence of God the eternal father. In the world before your were a spirit child of his. With this divine parentage, your destiny, through righteous living, is to become like your Father in Heaven and return to his presence”(The Purpose of Life Pamphlet handed out at the Temple on BYU campus).
“In your life before birth, before the earth was created God presented a plan to his children for their advancement. You were free to accept or reject this plan of salvation. Those spirit children who accepted his plan were given the opportunity to live on earth; those who rejected his plan were not privileged to enter mortality”(The Purpose of Life Pamphlet handed out at the Temple on BYU campus).
Where does this teaching of preexistence come from? “Before time began the soul was without a body, an archetype, the heavenly man pure in spirit in paradise, yet longing after the archetype, God. Some of the pure spirits descended into bodies and lost their purity” (Plato and the Stoics philosophy).
Greek philosophy is the origin of this type of philosophy, not the Bible. The Bible teaches in1 Cor. 15:46-47: “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second is man is from heaven.” On this main point Mormonism disagrees with all of Christian teaching founded in the Bible. Gen. 2:7: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
A verse that is commonly used is Jer.1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you...” This verse is not talking about pre-existence. It is talking about God’s ordination and appointment of Jeremiah to be a prophet to his nation. Let’s look at the whole verse: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” This was God’s plan for Jeremiah, in the same way Eph. 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
The Mormons teach that we are all spirit offspring produced by God the Father and his wife in heaven. We are all pre-existing spirits with God which then come down to inhabit human bodies on earth. This is a purely a Mormon doctrine and not found in the Bible. They cannot find any support for this teaching in the Bible. They may call it plain and precious, Christian teaching calls this false.
Mormonism does hold: “This doctrine that there is a Mother in Heaven was affirmed in plainness by the First Presidency of the Church... they said that 'man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father,' that man is the 'offspring of celestial parentage, 'and that 'all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p. 516).
Milton R. Hunter, who served in the First Council of the Seventy stated “The stupendous truth of the existence of a Heavenly Mother, as well as a Heavenly Father, became established facts in Mormon theology” (The Gospel Through the Ages, 1958, p.98).
“Brother Kimball quoted a saying of Joseph the Prophet, that he would not worship a god who had not a Father; and 1 do not know that he would if he had not a mother, the one would be as absurd as the other.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 286)
Orson Pratt: “But if we have a heavenly Mother as well as a heavenly Father, is it not right that we should worship the Mother of our spirits as well as the Father? No; for the Father of our spirits is at the head of His household, and his wives and children are required to yield the most perfect obedience to their great Head. It is lawful for the children to worship the King of Heaven, but not the 'Queen of heaven.'... we are nowhere taught that Jesus prayed to His heavenly Mother...” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 159) [Emp. Mine]
The Bible says that when Israel recognized the Queen of heaven it was idolatry.
Mormons even believe that Jesus Christ, Lucifer, and all of us were spirit children of God in the pre-mortal world (Mormon Doctrine, p. 278). Jesus is “the First Spirit Child born to God the Father in Preexistence” (Ibid. p.28)
Apostle McConkie wrote, “The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129.)This agrees with Joseph F. Smith, sixth prophet of the LDS Church, “Among the spirit children of Elohim, the first-born was and is Jehovah, or Jesus Christ, to whom all others are juniors” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 70).
So he is God’s first spirit child in heaven and then we are spirit children born afterwards. So, according to Mormon teaching, the Father is his daddy and yours, we are all in the same family.
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism Vol.4, Appendix 4 states, “Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them. He is The Son, as they are sons and daughters of Elohim.”
So here in their own words is the Jesus of Mormonism, a spirit born in heaven from spirit parents. A spirit among other spirit children the only difference is that he was the firstborn in the family.
Wilford Woodruff, the fourth president of the church, said that “God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end” (Journal of Discourses, vol.6, p.120). [Emp. Mine]
“God the eternal father did of his own will ordain and established the plan of salvation whereby christ and all his spirit children might have power to advance and progress and become like him.” (Promised Messiah by B. McConkie, p.48) [Emp. Mine]
This idea of God[s] progressing and changing is very different from the concept of God taught in the Bible for thousands of years. The Bible teaches in Malachi 3:6 we read: “For I am the Lord, I change not ...” “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hast formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2). “Jesus Christ is the same Yesterday, today and forever.” If you have a god that changes then that “thing” is NOT GOD.
Mormonism has an internal problem; they contradict the Bible describing the nature of God. This is very serious because if you do not have this correct, everything else about God is affected. As we will examine that is exactly what has taken place.
Apostle McConkie said of Christ, “He is the Firstborn of the Father. By obedience and devotion to the truth he attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked Him as a God, as the Lord Omnipotent while yet in His preexistent state” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129). [Emp. Mine]
Jesus progressed and this is what made him God. This gives us insight into what Mormonism defines as God.
The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations From God, p.94 “However, scripture describes Jesus as the Firstborn of the Father, not only in terms of the human family, but in [p.95] terms of every world and every form of life organized under the Father's direction. Paul wrote: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible [seen and unseen].…And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Coloss. 1:16-17; emphasis added; cf. Rev. 3:14). In other words, our God's first creative act as a Father was to sire his Firstborn and Only Begotten Son.”
One of the more misunderstood words is firstborn and only begotten. Some things are hard to understand and some twist to their own destruction as Peter said. Christians will hold the LDS Church and others accountable for misrepresenting what the words actually mean according to the authors of the Bible. When Jesus is called the “only begotten Son” it means He is the unique one of a kind, no other is like Him, He alone has that nature and position. The Greek word for “only begotten” is monogenes; it is formed by two separate words: Mono meaning single, one, sole and lone. when the two words are combined it means “unique” one of a kind, no other like Him, it means the only one generated. As he is the unique son uncreated but generated, he is the only example of his category the only representative as the only God/ man. What it does not mean is a literal offspring having a beginning, but that he is eternally existent as the Son along with the Father. W.E. Vine states: “The word “begotten” does not imply a beginning of his sonship. It suggests relationship indeed, but must be distinguished from generation as applied to man.” Vine makes it clear it does not connote the same meaning as it does to creatures.
The Greek word for firstborn is Prototokos, it is found seven times in the New Testament. It means first in rank, an heir, to have preeminence in position not in His origin. Both Col.1:15 and Rev.1:5 both clarify the meaning of firstborn to mean risen from the dead eternally. Rev.1:5: “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead.” Not firstborn spirit of the Father and mother as Mormonism teaches. In Ex.4:22 the nation Israel is called God’s firstborn Son. God did not literally beget a nation in a literal sense as we do people. Also we need to note the Greek word for Son that is used exclusively for Jesus is huios, which refers to his nature not referring to a begotten son. There is a different word for son for mankind. All this points to making Jesus unique and separate from the reasoning of Mormonism’s non-Christian theologians.
“The First Presidency of the Church has written, 'God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title Elohim,' is the literal Parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and of the spirits of the human race” (Messages from the First Presidency 5:26).
“If none but gods will be permitted to multiply immortal children, it follows that each God must have one or more wives. God, the Father of our spirits, became the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 158) [Emp. Mine]
Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., said: “The birth of the Savior was a natural occurrence unattended with any degree of mysticism, and the Father God was the literal parent of Jesus in the flesh as well as in the spirit” (Religious Truths Defined, p.44). [Emp. Mine]
So in other words Jesus was sired by God the Father with his wife in heaven and when it came time for him to come to earth the Father has copulation with Mary who was a virgin to sire his body. Remember these are their own words and interpretation of the Bibles events transcribed in their own books as revelation.
“He [God] created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be” (Journal of Discourses 11:122). [Emp. Mine]
So God cannot make anything without procreation? Then how did he make the heavens and the earth and all the things in it? (By speaking) Yet their teaching is that God created man in the same way we create children.
“The Father begets; the Son is begotten; they are Parent and Child” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol.3, p.138) Apostle Bruce McConkie wrote, “For our present purposes, suffice it to say that our Lord was born of a virgin, which is fitting and proper, and also natural, since the Father of the Child was an immortal Being ... He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers. It is just that simple” (The Promised Messiah, pp. 466, 468). [Emp. Mine]
No, it is not that simple, it’s not even correct.
So how does this spiritual fantasy work? “We were begotten by our Father in Heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father; and so on, from generation to generation, . . . we wonder in our minds, how far back the genealogy extends, and how the first world was formed, and the first father was begotten” (The Seer, p.132).
Heber C. Kimball, who was a member of the First Presidency explained: “.. . then we shall go back to our Father and God, who is connected with one who is still farther back; and this Father is connected with one still further back, and so on . . .” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p.19).
So we have a lot spirit grandfathers and grandmas according to Mormonism. The progression of gods is connected to man becoming a God as all other gods before him (according to their founder Joseph Smith).
Orson Hyde explains: “Remember that God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where He now is” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p.123). [Emp. Mine] God grew up and progressed. Of course this is not the portrayal of the God found in the Bible, who has all knowledge and all power forevermore. There is absolutely no proof of their teaching from the Bible or from the Book of Mormon but they all seem to adhere to this presupposition without explaining it, much less proving it. It is inherited from their prophets who they believe are equal and in line with the Bibles prophets even though they contradict them immensely.
We can understand what Mormonism is, from their own teachers explaining their faith. “Therefore if the law of progression be accepted, God must have been engaged from the beginning, and must now be engaged in progressive development, and infinite as God is, he must have been less powerful in the past than he is today.”(LDS Apostle John Widtsoe, A Rational Theology, p.24).
Brigham Young stated: “We are now, or may be, as perfect in our sphere as God and Angels are in theirs, but the greatest intelligence in existence can continually ascend to greater heights of perfection” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p.93). To Ascend is a teaching found in the occult.
So How Does a spirit get born?
Orson Pratt further explains “In the heaven where are spirits were born, there are many Gods, each of whom has his own wife or wives, which were given to him…while yet in this mortal state ”(Orson Pratt, the Seer p.37).
The Bible tells us that spirits do not have offspring, they were created together and there are no newly created spirits (angels) in heaven. Pratt presents a foreign teaching from the Bible in that there is a Father and mother, God and goddess making babies. “In the heaven where are spirits were born, there are many Gods, each of whom has his own wife or wives, which were given to him…while yet in this mortal state.” (Orson Pratt the Seer p.37)
Orson Pratt said,” that before men and women are born on earth as babies, their spirits are adult size in heaven. When they are born, their Spirits are compressed, which causes a loss in memory ”(Journal of Discourses vol.16 pp.333-334) The Mormon Church teaches that our spirits forget what happened to them when placed into a body (Gospel Principles, p. 11). They teach that there was training previously in heaven before one comes to earth.
Do you know anyone (Mormon and non-Mormon) who remembers his/her pre-mortal life lessons and training? That is why you do not remember anything from your pre earth existence, your spirit was compressed. Like Hinduism, one chooses to forget each time they incarnate. Even Adam and Eve forgot their premortal instruction. (March 1996 Ensign, page 31)
Wilford Woodruff quoting Brigham Young. “Our Father begot all the spirits that were before any tabernacle was made. When our Father came into the Garden He came with his Celestial body & brought one of his wives with him and ate of the fruit of the Garden until He could beget a Tabernacle. And Adam is Michael God and all the God that we have anything to do with. …The world don't know that Jesus Christ our Elder Brother was begotten by our Father in Heaven. Handle it as you please, it will either seal the damnation or salvation of man. He was begotten by the Father & not by the Holy Ghost” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff; April 9 1852) [Emp. Mine].
Wilford Woodruff: “President Young said Adam was Michael, the Archangel and he was the Father of Jesus Christ and is our God and that Joseph taught this principle” (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Dec. 16, 1867) [Emp. Mine].
Here their president refers to Joseph Smith the founder for this teaching. This is not some obscure statement, but is repeated early on by the presidency.
How does he know Adam was Michael, if Adam could not remember? In Mormonism one can make the most outrageous statements on the Bible and have no need to present any proof. From its inception, Mormonism taught that Adam was actually Michael, who is actually God. The enigma of where we came from is solved by Smith’s revelation to Brigham Young and others. An angel (Michael) who is Adam (and God) listened to another angel (Lucifer) who offered the gospel of progression, they obeyed him. This they call true Christianity.
Mormonism has another form of evolution from spirit to man to God. Your beginning was not slime from a pond as secular evolutionists teach but from your daddy and mommy who are Gods in heaven. Does this sound more rational? Does this sound like Christian teaching? Here is how they explain how it began: “In the first stage, man was an eternally existent being termed an intelligence ... The next realm where man dwelt was the spirit world. According to Mormon concept eternally-existing intelligences were clothed with spirit bodies in the mansion of their Eternal Father... numerous sons and daughters were begotten and born of heavenly parents into that eternal family in the spirit world ... There in the spirit world they were reared to maturity, becoming grown spirit men and women prior to coming upon this earth ... Following his stay in the spirit world, man comes on earth ... Here he receives a physical body and undergoes the experiences of mortality... Eventually, however, mortal death comes upon man. The eternal spirit goes to the spirit world to await resurrection and judgment” (Gospel through the Ages, pp, 127-129).
According to Mormonism in heaven “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer. ...this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind” (The Gospel Through The Ages, by M. R. Hunter).So although Jesus won the bid for salvation it was Lucifer who really taught them progression (according to Mormonism). So he actually becomes their instructor because they are following what he said more than what the real Jesus said in the Bible! The Bible teaches God did not want Adam or Eve to disobey, Lucifer said God was keeping from them from their Godhood. To a Mormon this was a good thing to learn of this. It gave the ability to progress, and be exalted on another planet, as all other God’s who came before them.
As we have seen, the Mormon Church does not believe what Jesus said of Himself in the Bible: about who He is nor about his death on the cross being the ONLY way to have your sins forgiven. They have another way to be exalted and become a god on another planet just as Jesus did on ours. Orson Pratt explains: “The celestial beings who dwell in the Heaven from which we came, having been raised from the grave, in a former world, and having been filled with all the fulness of these eternal attributes, are called Gods, because the fulness of God dwells in each. Both the males and the females enjoy this fullness” (The Seer, Orson Pratt, The Pre-Existence of Man, p. 37) [Emp. Mine]
Today the Mormon Church teaches one must obey the laws and ordinances which are based on Adams disobedience that brought the fall. Go figure. Why do they claim it is Christ's plan they teach; God told them not to eat of the tree, the fact is that it was Lucifer who offered man to become a god. It was Lucifer who tempted Adam and Eve to eat which resulted in their fall. But to a Mormon this was good and beneficial, Apostle Orson Pratt stated: “Well might Adam and Eve bless god for their transgression; for all the sufferings that they endured in consequence of it were not worthy to be compared with the KNOWLEDGE gained, and the joys which flowed through that KNOWLEDGE. ...[B]y his transgression, he obtained KNOWLEDGE INDISPENSABLY NECESSARY TO HIS EXALTATION....” (Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 87, 1853) [emp. mine]
The act of disobedience which introduced death and mortality to mankind is the Mormon plan of salvation, and is called a great blessing. “We can hardly look upon anything resulting in such benefits as being a sin, in the sense in which we consider sin” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 115). “Properly understood, it becomes apparent that the fall of Adam is one of the greatest blessings ever given of God to mankind” (McConkie, NWAF, p. 87). [Emp. Mine]
If this was a blessing, then when Adam and Eve heard God walking in the Garden, why did they not go running to Him, instead of hiding with guilt and shame. They should have been happy with the knowledge fulfilling His plan. The Bible has another story; it resulted in losing their pure state and becoming mortal?
Sterling W. Sill. who served as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve had this to say about Adams transgression: 'Adam fell, but he fell in the right direction. He fell toward the goal ... Adam fell, but he fell upward "(July 31, 1965 Deseret News, Church Section)
I guess the Bible does not mean what it says, after all people have been reading this story for 2,000 years and Christ teachings are considered wrong, and the Mormons with their new revelation are right.
President Brigham Young stated: “We are the sons and daughters of celestial Beings, and the germ of the Deity dwells within us. When our spirits took possession of these tabernacles, they were as pure as the angels of God, wherefore total depravity cannot be a true doctrine” (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp.50-51). Brigham Young denied the very essential teaching of Christ and because of this denial it was replaced with Lucifer’s exaltation doctrine “I will be like the most high.” Young replaced Christ’s teaching of man needing forgiveness because of his sin to say we were once pure in our preexistence, and deity dwells in us.
The Bible records God saying, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen. 3:11). “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:13). The Bible states by the apostle Paul: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14).
Joseph Fielding Smith said that he did not “accuse Adam of a sin.... is not always a sin to transgress a law” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1. p.114).
2 Cor. 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-- you may well put up with it!”
The Mormon Church speaks judgment to their people by denying the essentials of the Bible. It saddens me to see them willfully do this to themselves. To deny Scripture and then use it to turn it on Christianity shows exactly what their prophet Smith meant from the beginning in his visitation.
The Bible states the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), if Adam's and Eve's action was not sin, then why did it introduce death and a curse into the world (Romans 5:12). Then to Adam God said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, (who listened to the serpent) and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen 3:17). How can this be such a “wonderful blessing” making man mortal and sinful. If it was not actually sin that Adam and Eve committed why do we still die and have a fallen world? We can only wonder why God punished Adam for his sin, and his descendants and the earth was placed under a curse if this was truly God’s plan for man. The fact is, the Mormon gospel is not good news, but keeps one from hearing the good news (the Gospel) of God's grace found in the Bible.