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Dear Gramps,

I accidentally clicked on a link that inadvertently led me to a question posed about how foreordination/predestination and freedom to choose can be non-mutually exclusive. I write to you today to share with you my thoughts and see if you agree or not. Today in our Relief Society lesson we learned of faithfully enduring trials and opposition. The point was made that we can learn by the trials specific to mortality versus the lessons we must suffer through (or could otherwise learn by precept) brought on by our sinfulness or willful opposition to the laws of God and the natural laws of the universe. It was my personal opinion that when we exercise our freedom of choice to be obedient to the laws and ordinances, our endurance of the trials becomes easier to bear. Where as if we choose to be disobedient or willful, the pain is deepened and despair and loneliness are manifest. Thus according to how we choose our reactions to/ reception of the trials we may have previously agreed upon in the pre-existence turns our experiences in this mortal life into enduring learning experiences or suffering misery. What do you think ? Also, is there any doctrinal or reliable source that verifies this belief that we choose our trials in the pre-existence?





Dear Nina,

I don’t have any information on whether or not we chose our trials in the pre-existence. I think that the whole subject is a matter of speculation. However, there are some scriptures that I believe would tend to verify your contention that we may be supported and strengthened by enduring trials that come our way, but when we disobey the commandments of God we suffer for our disobedience and distance ourselves from the Lord and become weaker in our resolve. The following scripture tells us that we are not given trials by the Lord that we cannot overcome if we yield obedience to his laws.

He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive.


And by giving heed and doing these things which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive–and the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of him (D&C 50:34-35)

However, if we are disobedient to the Father, then we weaken our strength and our resolve to overcome evil, and in the end are captured and enslaved by the devil.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him. (D&C 3:4)

And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:11)






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