Is it possible for a person to be born into the wrong gender body?

Is it possible for a person to be born into the wrong gender body?

Question

 

Gramps,

I have been a member of the LDS church all my life and believe the doctrine stating that our spirits had a gender before we became mortal.  I find myself pondering the possibility of an imperfectly gendered body.  Hermaphrodites exist, and there are any number of possible things that go wrong in forming a human body.  Is it, or could it at all be possible for someone really to be born into the wrong gender of body versus their spirit gender?  I honestly don’t know for sure. Thanks.

Lisa

 

Answer

 

Lisa,

It is hard not to ponder such a question given the current events going on around us.  The Church has clearly proclaimed that “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose,” in the Proclamation on the Family.

There are some who state simply that “God does not make mistakes” as if that ended the discussion.  While I agree God does not make mistakes, I don’t agree that ends the discussion. God’s perfect plan is to test us imperfect people with imperfect bodies living in an imperfect word to see if we will overcome our challenges and do his will.

This plan with its imperfect bodies is not a mistake.  Many of us have to deal with physical, mental, and/or emotional problems whose root cause might be caused by something going wrong in these imperfect bodies.  There is no reason to believe that the apparent gender of our physical form is an exception to these kind of potential problems.  You mentioned one such problem (Hermaphrodites).  Medical science is full of such cases; even our chromosomes can be messed up.  Instead of the standard XX for female and XY for males, one might have Turner Syndrome (XO) Klinefelter Syndrome (XXY), Triple X Syndrome (XXX) and XYY Syndrome.

Given what we are still learning about how our physical bodies develop, I think it is also way too soon to rule out the idea that some kinds of imperfections could alter the brain structure and brain chemistry that effect a persons thoughts about their gender identity.

While there is a lot we don’t know, we do know some very important things.  We are here to see if we will follow God’s commands.  Whatever challenges we face, no matter the reason we face them, we still need to seek out and follow God as best we can.  We need to love our brothers and sisters (everyone) and try to help them also seek out and follow God the best that they can, no matter what trial they might be facing.  All of us need to seek the Spirit of God, ponder the scriptures, and have the support and guidance of trusted leaders, families, and friends as we struggle to overcome all our imperfections and follow God.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Did I do something terrible in the premortal world?

Did I do something terrible in the premortal world?

Question

 

Gramps,

Does our life in the premortal world determine our family? I was raised by a single mother and never met my father. There has been abuse in my family for several generations. I was not able to become pregnant. My temple marriage ended in divorce. All my known relatives are dead. I see families that are happy and they are blessed with children and relatives. I wanted so much to have a celestial marriage and descendants but it just wouldn’t happen. Did I  do something terrible in the premortal world?

Gael

 

Answer

 

Dear Gael,

I’m sorry for your pain and anguish.  First I want to reassure you that the Lord loves you.  He is aware of your struggles.  He will bless you.

No, Gael, the pain you have felt in your life is not some sort of punishment for your premortal life.  The trials, tribulations and yes, sometimes, horrors, of this life come about for different reasons.  Many of them are due to people’s use of their agency.  You mentioned abuse in your family. That happens because of people’s poor use of agency.  Your inability to become pregnant; I’m guessing was related to a physical issue (not a punishment from God).  Though these trials are hard, you are not alone in your suffering. Many of the people we admire in the scriptures suffered greatly.  Let’s look at a few.

Job, you will remember, lost his family, his riches and finally his health.  In chapter 3 he expresses his pain so eloquently. Here are just two verses:  Job 3:20-21

“Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;”

And remember Joseph of Egypt? His own brothers sold him into slavery.  Then every time something good seemed to be happening in his life, something else would come along to ruin it.  And yet in the end, he was just where the Lord needed him to be in a ruling position in Egypt.

Abinadi and many others were killed for sharing the gospel.

Joseph and Emma buried most of their children, and Joseph spent a lot of time unjustly behind bars, tarred and feathered etc.

No one would assume that any of them had done something wrong in the premortal life, right?

Even Jesus Christ, who was perfect, was not spared the cruelty and unfairness of this world.

But Gael, the Lord loves you, and He will not leave you alone in your struggles.  You may feel sometimes as if you were alone.  At those times, I counsel you to remember Jesus’ disciples on the road to Emmaus. He walked with them and taught them and yet they did not know He was there.  He will be with you, even in those times that you don’t know He is.  He has promised us “my kindness shall not depart from thee” Isaiah 54:10.

I highly recommend a talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland:  Lessons From Liberty Jail

 

 

 

Gramps

Did we have any say in the circumstances we would be born into?

Did we have any say in the circumstances we would be born into?

Question

Gramps,

Did we have any say in what kind of circumstances we would be born into on this Earth in the premortal life? Seems unfair to me if it wasn’t that way.

Sojourner

 

Answer

Dear Sojourner,

First, let me say categorically that we don’t know the answer to this. So any answer I gave would be nothing but speculative.

Second, I have to ask. Why would it seem unfair? Is not the purpose of this life to bring us back to Heavenly Father, and to inherit all He has, and to dwell with Him forever in eternal glory?  If that is the purpose, and we trust that God is no respecter of persons (meaning that we all have the same chance for this glory), then can we not also trust that our circumstances in life are in our best interests, that God would not have put us into an unjust state? Would it not be distinctly unfair of God to allow us to have a say in our circumstances that then jeopardized our potential to choose, to grow, and to ultimately become that which we could have had we only trusted Him?

I don’t know that it’s valid to consider fairness based on our extremely limited mortal perceptions. When we look back on our lives in the end of days, I suspect that many of the things we thought were our greatest curses will turn out to have been our greatest blessings.

 

Gramps

Were there covenants made in premortal life?

Were there covenants made in premortal life?

Question

Dear Gramps,

Were there covenants and ordinances made in the premortal life?

Marco

 

Answer

Marco,

I believe that there are indeed covenants that can be made in the premortal life.  A number of latter-day prophets and apostles have implied that such covenants were a prerequisite to obtaining a physical body.  For example:

Spencer W. Kimball:

“We made vows, solemn vows, in the heavens before we came to this mortal life. . . .

“We have made covenants. We made them before we accepted our position here on the earth.

“Now we made this commitment, ‘. . . all things whatsoever the Lord our God shall command us.’ We committed ourselves to our Heavenly Father, that if He would send us to the earth and give us bodies and give to us the priceless opportunities that earth life afforded, we would keep our lives clean and would marry in the holy temple and would rear a family and teach them righteousness. This was a solemn oath, a solemn promise. He promised us an eventful mortal life with untold privileges and providing we qualified in the way of righteousness, we would receive eternal life and happiness and progress. There is no other way to receive these rewards.” (“Be Ye Therefore Perfect,” Address given at the University of Utah Institute Devotional, 10 Jan. 1975, p. 2.; cited in New Testament Institute manual The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His ApostlesChapter 31.)

Dallin H. Oaks:

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. (Ensign, Nov 1993, 72)

David B. Haight:

Most of us have wondered about what occurred in the premortal world and how it relates to our existence here. We should be acquainted with the truth that knowledge of the premortal life was restored that we might fulfill our responsibilities as children of God.

The Lord has revealed that a grand council was held in that pre-earth world where we exercised our agency regarding the plans presented. The major proposition in the accepted plan of salvation provided for an earth life where each person could work out his eternal salvation.

John A. Widtsoe provides insight to an earth-life responsibility made in that premortal world which is of great importance. He highlights a contractual agreement we made concerning the eternal welfare of all of the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father:

“In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a[n] … agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan. … We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but … saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purpose of the eternal plan of salvation.”  (Ensign, November 1990, p.59)

Neal A. Maxwell

Elder Orson Hyde said of our life in the premortal world, “We understood things better there than we do in this lower world.” Elder Hyde also surmised as to the agreements we made there as follows: “It is not impossible that we signed the articles thereof with our own hands,–which articles may be retained in the archives above, to be presented to us when we rise from the dead, and be judged out of our own mouths, according to that which is written in the books.” Just because we have forgotten, said Elder Hyde, “our forgetfulness cannot alter the facts” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:314–15). Brothers and sisters, the degree of detail involved in the covenants and promises we participated in at that time may be a much more highly customized thing than many of us surmise…. (BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978)

I don’t think we have any way of knowing at this time whether, or how, such covenants might have been ritually made–whether through an “ordinance” or by some other means.

Gramps

Did we choose or agree to our earthly circumstances?

Did we choose or agree to our earthly circumstances?

Question

Gramps,

Did we choose or agree to our earthly circumstances?

C Brady 

 

Answer

C Brady.

The concept of whether or not we were able to choose/agree to our earthly circumstances is highly debated by members of the Church.  The reason this question is highly debated is due to the fact that we do not have any clear statement within scripture or from our prophets that would definitively suggest one way or the other.  In order to come to any correct conclusion an individual must pray, fast, and then study the words of scripture and prophets to gain personal revelation on the matter, and even through this member’s feelings may differ.

In our scriptures we are taught that without agency there would be no purpose to our existence.  We would not have the ability to act or be acted upon; as such, we know our agency existed in the pre mortal councils of heaven.    With a little bit of research it would appear Joseph Fielding Smith once declared,

We have no scriptural justification for the belief that we had the privilege of choosing our parents and our life companions in the spirit world. This belief has been advocated by some, and it’s possible that in some instances it is true, but it would require too great a stretch of the imagination to believe it to be so in all, or even in the majority of cases” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Way to Perfection, 44).

In light of this quote, as to my personal thoughts and feelings, I would assume it would be difficult to agree to choose our life’s circumstances, if we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our parents–our parents representing the primary element for the first 18 years, if not more, of our earthly circumstances and experiences as we first enter mortality.

Indirectly, however, it may be argued if we accepted Heavenly Father’s plan we also chose to accept our earthly circumstances and experiences on a whole. We were instructed in the heavens pertaining to this earth life.  We were most likely instructed regarding the possible good and evil we may encounter or experience.  In this light, one might say, “Yes, definitely, on a whole we chose/agreed with our earthly circumstances because we agreed to the plan given by our Heavenly Father.”

Gramps

Why did 1/3 part of God’s children not accept Christ’s plan?

Why did 1/3 part of God’s children not accept Christ’s plan?

Question

Gramps,

Why didn’t 1/3 part of God’s children accept God’s plan of salvation?  What was the main reason they followed Satan?

Raja

 

Answer

Raja,

This is an excellent question, I believe,any person who has read the scriptures will or has already asked themselves, “Why would a third part of the host of heaven follow Satan?”  Although we may ask ourselves these questions the scriptures and words of modern day apostles and prophets provide us with light to ponder:

1) They loved Satan more than God.  (Moses 5: 28; although the scripture pertains to the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, the principle still applies to the third part in heaven which rebelled)

2) They also sought, like Satan, to destroy the agency of men (Moses 4:3).  They saw more wisdom in the ideas presented by Satan, than by the ultimate wisdom given by God regarding our agency.

3) Due to the principle of agency, irony, since they wanted to destroy the agency of men, they chose to leave with Satan (Doctrine and Covenants 29: 36-37).

In our most recent conference, April 6th 2014, Elder Robert D. Hales had this to share, “In choosing whether we will obey, it is always helpful to remember the consequences of our choices.  Did Lucifer and his followers understand the consequences of choosing to reject Heavenly Father’s plan? If so, why did they make such a terrible choice? We might ask ourselves a similar question: why do any of us choose to be disobedient when we know the eternal consequences of sin? The scriptures provide an answer: the reason Cain and some of the children of Adam and Eve chose to disobey is because “they loved Satan more than God.”

In discussion with one one of my friends he provided this thought in relation to Elder Hales thoughts, “It’s the vices I embrace – the ones that I consider a part of my character, the ones that express my truest desires – those are the sins that damn me.  And if I don’t apply my testimony to the point of working the blood of the Lamb in me, then I run the risk of losing this estate.”

Well Raja, may you and I be blessed to love God more than we love Satan.  May each of us be blessed to choose to follow light and truth, verses darkness and error.  And should we err, may we repent quickly and sincerely before the Lord that in the end we may be found worthy to stand.

 

Gramps

Was there a beginning?

Was there a beginning?

Question

Dear Gramps,

I really appreciate the time and effort you put in answers all those questions. And I again want to thank you on behalf of all those thousands and thousands who I know are following your answers almost on a daily basis. I have been following you almost since the beginning.  Talking about the beginning my question is about the beginning. In our lesson of religion (The Pearl of Great Price) a couple of questions were raised:

(1) Was there a beginning?

(2) And how are the spiritual children of our Heavenly Father “organized?”

I have an idea, but I’d rather not speculate on Church matters. I want to thank you for providing some light on these matters.

FA (more…)

Were we created with another spirit of the opposite sex?

Were we created with another spirit of the opposite sex?

Question

Gramps,

I have read and heard from a couple of people that when God created us spiritually we were created with another spirit of the opposite sex. So for example when God created me (me being a male) he created a female.  The scripture they use is that one that basically Says “Neither is the woman without the man nor the man without the woman.”  Curiosity is just upon me.  Thanks!

Jinjoz (more…)

Did we really have agency in the premortal life?

Did we really have agency in the premortal life?

Question

Gramps,

Thanks for all the knowledge you share in your answers. I am wondering how effective can we consider our agency was in premortal life. I mean, how effective is our agency if we just needed to elect to choose or not the Father’s plan ? Did we held any other options ? I am just guessing what would happen if someone did not want to choose the Fathers plan or Satan’ option? Were we allowed to do so?

Vic (more…)

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