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Dear Gramps,

Were there covenants and ordinances made in the premortal life?






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.





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