Preexistence/Premortality

The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or Amazon.com.

7th President Heber J. Grant

“We of this Church have been told of the Lord that before we
came to this earth we had a life running back to the remotest
stretches of eternity; that as spirits we lived out an existence before
we came here, in which we prepared ourselves for life on
the earth; that then, having kept our first estate, we came to this
earth to obtain knowledge, wisdom, and experience, to learn the
lessons, suffer the pains, endure the temptations, and gain the
victories of mortality; that when our mortal bodies give up life, our
spirits return to take up again the spirit life which we left to come
to earth life, and we thereafter go on, building upon the achievements
of our first spirit-life, our first estate, and of our mortal life,
or second estate, progressing through the endless eternities that
follow, until we reach the goal the Lord set: ‘Be ye perfect, even
as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ [Matthew 5:48.]”
(Heber J. Grant, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant,
2002, p. 49. Brackets in original).

8th President George Albert Smith

“We lived before we came here and our birth into this world was
the reward of having kept our first estate” (George Albert Smith,
Conference Reports, October 1926, p. 103).

“We believe that we are here because we kept our first estate and
earned the privilege of coming to earth. We believe that our very
existence is a reward for our faithfulness before we came here,
and that we are enjoying the fruits of our efforts in the spirit
world” (George Albert Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church:
George Albert Smith, 2011, pp. 70-71).

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith

“We have reason to believe that all who were privileged to come
to this mortal world came because they were entitled by pre-mortal
qualifications” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions
4:153).

“Is it not a reasonable belief that the Lord would select the choice
spirits to come through the better grades of nations? Moreover,
is it not reasonable to believe that less worthy spirits would come
through less favored lineage? Does this not account in very large
part for the various grades of color and degree of intelligence we
find in the earth?” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection,
p. 48.)

“During the ages in which we dwelt in the pre-mortal state we not
only developed our various characteristics and showed our worthiness
and ability, or the lack of it, but we were also where such
progress could be observed. It is reasonable to believe that there
was a Church organization there. The heavenly beings were living
in a perfectly arranged society. Every person knew his place.
Priesthood, without any question, had been conferred and the
leaders were chosen to officiate. Ordinances pertaining to that
pre-existence were required and the love of God prevailed. Under
such conditions it was natural for our Father to discern and
choose those who were most worthy and evaluate the talents of
each individual. He knew not only what each of us could do, but
what each of us would do when put to the test and when responsibility
was given us. Then, when the time came for our habitation
on mortal earth, all things were prepared and the servants of the
Lord chosen and ordained to their respective missions” (Joseph
Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, pp. 50-51. Also cited in the
LDS Church manual The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles,
p. 350).

11th President Harold B. Lee

“The privilege of obtaining a mortal body on this earth is seemingly
so priceless that those in the spirit world, even though unfaithful
or not valiant, were undoubtedly permitted to take mortal
bodies although under penalty of racial or physical or nationalistic
limitations” (Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living, p. 165).

13th President Ezra Taft Benson

“God bless us in our stewardship. May we be at least as valiant for
freedom and righteousness, here and now, as we were when we
fought for these principles in the preexistence. There is no other
safe way, for ‘righteousness exalteth a nation’” (Ezra Taft Benson,
God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, p. 400).

15th President Gordon B. Hinckley

“I do not know what we did in the preexistence to merit the wonderful
blessings we enjoy. We have come to earth in this great season
in the long history of mankind. It is a marvelous age, the best
of all” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Living in the Fulness of Times,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), November 2001, p. 4).

16th President Thomas S. Monson

“How grateful we should be that a wise Creator fashioned an earth
and placed us here, with a veil of forgetfulness of our previous
existence so that we might experience a time of testing, an opportunity
to prove ourselves in order to qualify for all that God
has prepared for us to receive” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Race of
Life,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May, 2012, p. 91).

First Presidency

“Back in that first estate, you knew with absolute certainty that God
existed because you saw and heard Him. You knew Jesus Christ,
who would become the Lamb of God. You had faith in Him. And
you knew that your destiny was not to stay in the security of your
premortal home. As much as you loved that eternal sphere, you
knew you wanted and needed to embark on a journey. You would
depart from the arms of your Father, pass through a veil of forgetfulness,
receive a mortal body, and learn and experience things
that hopefully would help you grow to become more like Father in
Heaven and return to His presence” (Diether F. Uchtdorf, “Your
Wonderful Journey Home,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May
2013, p. 126).

“Nevertheless, everyone you see around you—in this meeting or at
any other place, today or at any other time—was valiant in the premortal
world. That unassuming and ordinary-looking person sitting
next to you may have been one of the great figures you loved
and admired in the sphere of spirits. You may have been such a
role mode yourself! Of one thing you can be certain: every person
you see—no matter the race, religion, political beliefs, body type,
or appearance—is family” (Diether F. Uchtdorf, “Your Wonderful
Journey Home,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2013, p. 128).

Apostles

“I have already told you that the spirits of men and women, all
had a previous existence, thousands of years ago, in the heavens,
in the presence of God; and I have already told you that among
them are many spirits that are more noble, more intelligent than
others, that were called the great and mighty ones, reserved until
the dispensation of the fulness of times, to come forth upon the
face of the earth, through a noble parentage that shall train their
young and tender minds in the truths of eternity, that they may
grow up in the Lord, and be strong in the power of His might, be
clothed upon with His glory, be filled with exceeding great faith;
that the visions of eternity may be opened to their minds; that they
may be Prophets, Priests, and Kings to the Most High God. Do you
believe, says one, that they are reserved until the last dispensation,
for such a noble purpose? Yes; and among the Saints is the most
likely place for these spirits to take their tabernacles, through a
just and righteous parentage. They are to be sent to that people
that are the most righteous of any other people upon the earth;
there to be trained up properly, according to their nobility and
intelligence, and according to the laws which the Lord ordained
before they were born” (Orson Pratt, August 29, 1852, Journal of
Discourses 1:62-63).

“We know, from the doctrines that we have received, that men
and women have existed before coming into this life, for countless
ages, and that we have been developing certain qualities, and
the reason we are separated into great classes, as the Negro race
and the other races on the earth, is not a matter of caprice. God
did not take three beautiful children yesterday morning, and say
to one, You go to the Negro woman, and to another one, You
go to that Chinese mother, and to another, You go down to that
beautiful Christian home. In my opinion, there were classes and
races, and separation into different groups and conditions before
we came to this world, and all are getting what they are entitled
to receive here” (Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Reports, April 1915,
p. 62).

“Now, my brothers and sisters, I would like you to understand that
long before we were born into this earth we were tested and tried
in our pre-existence, and the fact that of the thousands of children
born today, a certain proportion of them went to the Hottentots of
South Africa; thousands went to the Chinese mothers; thousands
went to Negro mothers; thousands to beautiful white Latter-day
Saint mothers: You cannot tell me that the entire group was just
designated, marked, to go where they did, that they were men and
women of equal opportunities. There are no infant spirits born.
They had a being ages before they came into this life. They appear
in infant bodies, but they were tested, proven souls. Therefore, I
say to you that long before we came into this life all groups and
races of men existed as they exist today. Like attracts like” (Melvin
J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard,
pp. 247-248).

“Why is it in this Church we do not grant the priesthood to the Negroes?
It is alleged that the Prophet Joseph said-and I have no reason
to dispute it-that it is because of some act committed by them
before they came into this life. It is alleged that they were neutral,
standing neither for Christ nor the devil. But, I am convinced it
is because of some things they did before they came into this life
that they have been denied the privilege. The races of today are
very largely reaping the consequence of a previous life” (Melvin J.
Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, p. 248).
“According to our teachings, Satan and an army of supporters
were cast down to earth from the premortal spirit world. They are
spirit brothers of ours, and are real persons having spirit bodies”
(Joseph F. Merrill, Conference Reports, April 1941, p. 49).

“We know beyond all doubt that we existed with God in the eternities
and that we existed with him in the heavens as his sons and
daughters” (George Q. Morris, Conference Reports, October 1956,
pp. 45-46).

“To understand this discussion between Jesus and his Jewish detractors,
it must be remembered that men are born in various
families, nations, and races as a direct result of their preexistent
life. Many choice spirits from preexistence are sent in selected
families. This enables them to undergo their mortal probations
under circumstances where the gospel and its blessings will be
more readily available to them” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal
Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary 3:161).

“With all this in mind, can we account in any other way for the
birth of some of the children of God in darkest Africa, or in flood-ridden
China, or among the starving hordes of India, while some
of the rest of us are born here in the United States? We cannot
escape the conclusion that because of performance in our preexistence
some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some
as Indians, some as Negroes, some as Americans, some as Latter-day
Saints. These are rewards and punishments, fully in harmony
with His established policy in dealing with sinners and saints, rewarding
all according to their deeds” (Mark E. Petersen, “Race
Problems as they Affect the Church,” August 27, 1954, p. 11).

“For instance, three verses from Alma, advising of premortal
preparations and calls, officially broke centuries of silence about
mankind’s premortal existence. (See Alma 13:3-5.) In 1833, further
confirmation came. Not only was Jesus ‘in the beginning with
God,’ but ‘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 93:29.)” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Called and Prepared from
the Foundation of the World”, Ensign (Conference Edition), May
1986, pp. 34-35).

“It is not enough, therefore, to define the living prophet as merely
the current prophet who is alive today, though that is correct
enough. The living prophets were all close enough to God (before
they came here) to be chosen by him then, and they will be close
to him in the eternities” (Neal A. Maxwell, Things As They Really
Are, pp. 80-81).

“The doctrine is simply this: life did not begin with mortal birth.
We lived in spirit form before we entered mortality. We are spiritually
the children of God” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Mystery of Life,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1983, p. 16).

“We cannot remember that we once lived with our Heavenly Father
and Jesus Christ and that we probably sat in meetings much
like this, where the Father’s plan for us was explained. We cannot
remember that Lucifer, a son of God the Father, a brother of Jesus
Christ, rebelled against God’s plan and, in his rebellion, promised
he would bring us all back home. But Lucifer would have denied
us our free agency, the freedom to make decisions. We cannot
remember that his plan was not accepted by us because, without
choice, there would not have been a purpose for coming to this
mortal probation. We would not have had opposition or repentance.
We would not have learned obedience” (Robert D. Hales,
“The Aaronic Priesthood: Return with Honor,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 1990, p. 39.

“You and I were among those who used their agency to accept
Heavenly Father’s plan to come to earth, to have a mortal life,
to progress” (Robert D. Hales, “To Act for Ourselves: The Gift of
Blessings and Agency,” Ensign (Conference Edition), April 2006,
p. 4).

“In the preexistence, our decision to follow the Lord was all-or-nothing.
Following that pattern through our mortal probation will
get each of us back to our Heavenly Father. Now is the time to use
our time properly. ‘This life is the time for men to prepare to meet
God.’I testify that your time on earth will be sufficient if you learn
to use it wisely in your youth. ‘O, remember, my son, and learn
wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments
of God’” (Robert D. Hales, “To the Aaronic Priesthood: Preparing
for the Decade of Decision,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 2007, p. 50. Italics in original).

“But think of it: in our premortal state we chose to follow the Savior
Jesus Christ! And because we did, we were allowed to come to
earth” (Robert D. Hales, “Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2010, p. 25).

“In the premortal Council in Heaven, Lucifer rebelled against
Heavenly Father’s plan. Those who followed Lucifer ended their
eternal progression—be careful who you follow!” (Robert D.
Hales, “If Ye Love Me, Keep my Commandments,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 2014, p. 35).

“What is your purpose? You brethren were foreordained in a premortal
realm to bear the priesthood (see Alma 13:2-3). And you
sisters were chosen before the foundation of the world to bear and
care for God’s children; in doing so, you glorify God (see D&C
132:63). Have you sisters considered what it really means to be
co-creators with God?” (Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, January 2015,
p. 31).

“Dear brethren and sisters, the scriptures and the teachings of the
Apostles and prophets speak of us in premortal life as sons and
daughters, spirit children of God. Gender existed before, and did
not begin at mortal birth” (Boyd K. Packer, “For Time and All
Eternity,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November. 1993, p. 21).
“All of the myriads of mortals who have been born on this earth
chose the Father’s plan and fought for it. Many of us also made
covenants with the Father concerning what we would do in mortality.
In ways that have not been revealed, our actions in the spirit
world influence us in mortality” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan
of Happiness,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1993,
p. 72).

Seventies

“I find in the passages that I have quoted an allusion to the preexistence
we have had, similar to that which Jesus taught of himself
when he was upon the earth. As he and his disciples passed
along the road they found a man who had been blind from his
birth. The disciples referred to Jesus and asked, ‘Who did sin, this
man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ If the result of the
blindness was the sin of the man, certainly that sin must have been
committed before the birth in the flesh” (John Morgan, August
17, 1879, Journal of Discourses 20:279-280).

“Just as this life depends upon the previous life, so this life is most
important for the future, for life hereafter depends upon our life
here in mortality” (Theodore M. Burton, Conference Reports, October
1966, p. 33).

“Reserved to come forth in these last days and labor for our Father
and His Son are some of the most valiant and noble of our
Father’s sons and daughters. Their valiance and nobility were
demonstrated in the pre-earth struggle with Satan. There, ‘being
left to choose good or evil,’ they ‘[chose] good’ and exhibited
‘exceedingly great faith’ and ‘good works.’ Such are the traits that
are now needed to sustain the work of God in the earth and to
save the souls of men from the intensifying wrath of the adversary.
Now, my young friends of the Aaronic Priesthood, you are
these valiant and noble sons of our Father! You are the strength
of the Lord’s house, His warriors! You are those who chose good
over evil and who exhibited ‘exceedingly great faith’ and ‘good
works.’ And because of your personal history, you were entrusted
to come to the earth in these last days to do again what you did
before—to once again choose good over evil, exercise exceedingly
great faith, and perform good works—and to do so in behalf of
the kingdom of God on the earth and your fellowman!” (James J.
Hamula, “Winning the War against Evil,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
November 2008, pp. 50-51. Brackets in original).

Church Manuals

“QUESTION Then what determines where and when you are
born? ANSWER We don’t know in detail all the factors that influence
the circumstances into which we are born, but the prophets
have clearly taught that the basic rule of obedience to law as the
prerequisite for blessings holds true in this matter as well. QUESTION
Meaning that the kind of life we lived in the premortal
existence influenced where we are now? ANSWER Yes” (The Life
and Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles Religion 211-212, 1979, pp. 254-
255).

“All those who chose in the premortal life to follow Heavenly Father’s
plan gain a physical body by being born on this earth. During
our mortal life, we are tested to see whether we are willing to
live by faith and obey Heavenly Father’s commandments when we
are not in His physical presence (see Alma 34:32; Abraham 3:24-
26)” (Endowed from on High Temple Preparation Teacher’s Manual,
p. 4).

“The ‘first estate’ refers to the period of time before we were born
on this earth, also known as the premortal life. To ‘keep’ this first
estate, a spirit child of God in pre-earth life had to use his or her
agency to choose to follow the plan of salvation offered by Heavenly
Father. A third part of the spirit children of Heavenly Father
followed Lucifer (the devil) and rebelled against God and the
plan of salvation, thereby failing to keep their first estate. They
were therefore cast out of heaven, with no more opportunity to
progress. The ‘second estate’ refers to mankind’s mortal existence
on this earth. This estate is a probationary period in which individuals
‘prepare to meet God’ (Alma 12:24). All who accept and
obey the saving principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus
Christ will receive eternal life, the greatest gift of God, and will
have ‘glory added upon their heads for ever and ever’ (Abraham
3:26). Those who do not have the opportunity to accept and live
the gospel in mortality are given that opportunity in the spirit
world, after they die” (The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual Religion
327, 2000, pp. 38-39).

“Each spirit child of Heavenly Father differs in intelligence. Jesus
Christ is more intelligent than all of Heavenly Father’s spirit children,
and His wisdom excels them all. As an individual acquires
more light and intelligence they may in time become more like
Heavenly Father (see Abraham 3:18–21; see also D&C 88:41;
93:36–37)” (The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual Religion 327,
2000, p. 44).

“In the premortal existence, Heavenly Father chose His noble
and great spirit children to become rulers in His work on earth
(see Abraham 3:22–23; see also Romans 8:29; Alma 13:3; D&C
138:55–56)” (The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual Religion 327,
2000, p. 44).

“Noble and great spirit children of Heavenly Father helped Jesus
Christ create the earth (see Abraham 3:24)” (The Pearl of Great Price
Teacher Manual Religion 327, 2000, p. 44).

“The spirit children of Heavenly Father who “kept their first estate”
(were obedient to God in the premortal life) have received
additional opportunities by coming to earth as mortal beings, with
bodies of flesh and bones. Those who were not obedient in their
first estate will not receive such opportunities. Those who keep
their second estate, accepting and obeying the gospel in mortality
(or in the postmortal spirit world), will receive eternal glory from
God (see Abraham 3:26; see also Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:7; D&C
29:36–38; 76:69–74; 138:32–35)” (The Pearl of Great Price Teacher
Manual Religion 327, 2000, p. 44).

“We know that our spirits existed with the Father before we came
here” (John Taylor, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor,
2001, p. 187).

“We lived with Heavenly Father before we came to earth. We are
His spirit children, and He wants us to have the same joy that He
has by becoming like Him (see Jeremiah 1:5; Romans 8:16; Hebrews
12:9)” (Old Testament Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, 2003,
p. 16).

“All those who chose in the premortal life to follow Heavenly Father’s
plan gain a physical body by being born on this earth.” During
our mortal life, we are tested to see whether we are willing to
live by faith and obey Heavenly Father’s commandments when we
are not in His physical presence (see Alma 34:32; Abraham 3:24-
26)” (Endowed from on High Temple Preparation Teacher’s Manual,
2003, p. 4).

“Only those who accepted Jesus to be their Savior can have bodies
of flesh and bones. We know, because we have bodies of flesh and
bones, that we accepted Jesus to be our Savior. We chose the right
things in heaven” (Gospel Fundamentals, 2004, p. 11).

“Before you were born on earth, you lived in the presence of your
Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children. In this premortal
existence, you attended a council with Heavenly Father’s other
spirit children. At that council, Heavenly Father presented His
great plan of happiness (see Abraham 3:22-26)” (True to the Faith:
A Gospel Reference, 2004, pp. 115-116).

“In harmony with the plan of happiness, the premortal Jesus
Christ, the Firstborn Son of the Father in the spirit, covenanted to
be the Savior (see Moses 4:2; Abraham 3:27). Those who followed
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the
earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life.
Lucifer, another spirit son of God, rebelled against the plan and
‘sought to destroy the agency of man’ (Moses 4:3). He became
Satan, and he and his followers were cast out of heaven and denied
the privileges of receiving a physical body and experiencing
mortality (see Moses 4:4; Abraham 3:27–28). Throughout your
premortal life, you developed your identity and increased your
spiritual capabilities. Blessed with the gift of agency, you made important
decisions, such as the decision to follow Heavenly Father’s
plan. These decisions affected your life then and now. You grew
in intelligence and learned to love the truth, and you prepared to
come to the earth, where you could continue to progress” (True to
the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004, p. 116).

“Every person who was ever born on earth is our spirit brother or
sister. Because we are the spirit children of God, we have inherited
the potential to develop His divine qualities” (Gospel Principles,
2009, p. 9).

“A veil covers our memories of our premortal life, but our Father
in Heaven knows who we are and what we did before we came
here. He has chosen the time and place for each of us to be born
so we can learn the lessons we personally need and do the most
good with our individual talents and personalities” (Gospel Principles,
2009, p. 10).

“Satan wanted to force us all to do his will. Under his plan, we
would not be allowed to choose. He would take away the freedom
of choice that our Father had given us. Satan wanted to have all
the honor for our salvation. Under his proposal, our purpose in
coming to earth would have been frustrated (see Teachings of Presidents
of the Church: David O. McKay [2003], 207)” (Gospel Principles,
2009, pp. 13-14).

“When we lived as spirit children with our heavenly parents, our
Heavenly Father told us about His plan for us to become more like
Him. We shouted for joy when we heard His plan (see Job 38:7)”
(Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 23).

“The President of the Church was foreordained in the premortal
life and is called in mortality after long, faithful service in the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He is set apart to exercise the keys
of the kingdom of heaven on earth and formally sustained by the
membership of the Church” (Teachings of the Living Prophets Teacher
Manual Religion 333, 2010, p. 13).

Other Sources

“So you are in reality, a descendant of God. He is your Heavenly
Father in a very literal sense. You lived with him and associated
with him before you were born on earth. You are the lineage of
God” (“Your Pre-Earth Life,” an unnumbered LDS tract).

“The Father, Elohim, is called the Father because he is the literal
father of the spirits of mortals (Heb. 12:9). This paternity is not allegorical.
All individual human spirits were begotten (not created
from nothing or made) by the Father in a premortal state, where
they lived and were nurtured by Heavenly Parents” (Encyclopedia of
Mormonism, 2:549).

“Every truth of salvation, that is, every doctrine or principle that
we must accept and live in order to be saved, was taught to us before
we were born. We came into this life knowing but having forgotten
these sacred truths. When these truths are declared to us
we are expected to remember and respond to them” (BYU Professor
Emeritus Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward
Answers to Tough Gospel Questions. p. 5).

“It is interesting and significant to note the First Presidency’s referral
to both a Father and a Mother in heaven as literal parents of
all of the spirits of mankind. It is most pro found that they clarified
the relationship of the spiritual creation of man by using words
such as ‘begotten’ and ‘born.’ This official statement of the First
Presidency answers the question. How was the spirit of man organized
or born? Just as mortal beings take on their physical bodies
in a procreative process involving both an earthly father and an
earthly mother, the birth of spirits came about ‘in like manner.’
This important truth implies that not only a Heavenly Father is
needed in the spiritual procreative process but also a heavenly
mother” (Brent L. Top, The Life Before, p. 60).

“Those who in mortality have entered into and striven to keep
the restored covenants of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ
were foreordained to do so in the grand council before the world
was. It is no coincidence that they are born with, or have had access
to, the truths of the Restoration. This was by divine design. It
was the will of God, It is the plan of God” (Alonzo L. Gaskill, Odds
Are You’re Going to Be Exalted, p. 78).

“Of all the major Christian churches, only The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the human race lived in
a premortal existence with God the Father and His Son, Jesus
Christ” (“Life Before Birth,” Ensign, February 2006, p. 30).

“Have you ever wondered why you were born where and when you
were born? Why you were not born 500 years ago in some primitive,
aboriginal culture in some isolated corner of the world? Is the
timing and placing of your birth capricious? For Latter-day Saints
the answer is no. Fundamental to our faith is the understanding
that before we came to this earth we lived in a premortal existence
with a loving Heavenly Father. We further understand that in that
premortal state we had agency. And that we grew and developed
as we used that agency. Some, as Abraham learned, became noble
and great ones. We believe that when it came time for us to experience
mortality, a loving Heavenly Father who knows each of
us well sent us to earth at the time and place and circumstances
that would best help us reach our divine potential and help Him
maximize his harvest of redeemed souls” (Terry Ball, BYU dean
of Religious Education, “To Confirm and Inform: A Blessing of
Higher Education,” March 11, 2008, BYU Devotional).

“A distinctive LDS teaching today regarding preexistence is that
all living things—humans, animals, plant life, and even the earth
itself—had a preexistence as spirts. The idea that the trillions
upon trillions of insects and noxious weeds have spirits that existed
for aeons prior to their fleeting and seemingly insignificant
existence on earth is a curious thought. Even more astounding
is the notion they will be resurrected to immortal glory at some
unspecified time in the future” (BYU Professor Charles R. Harrell,
‘This is my Doctrine’: The Development of Mormon Theology, p. 212).

“I believe if you could see yourself living with your Heavenly Parents and with Jesus Christ; if you could observe what you did premortally and see yourself making commitments—even covenants—with others, including your mentors and teachers; if you could see yourself courageously responding to attacks on truth and valiantly standing up for Jesus Christ, I believe that everyone one of you would have the increased power, increased commitment, and eternal perspective to help you overcome any and all of your confusion, doubts, struggles, and problems. All of them!” (Wendy W. Nelson, Worldwide Youth Devotional, June 3, 2018, Supplement to the New Era and Ensign, p. 5).