I note the following in your answer regarding the child with Down’s syndrome: “I suppose that we were not unaware in the pre-mortal spirit world of what life would be like in mortality. I could imagine that you had made a pact with your child who in that state would have volunteered to come into mortality in a disadvantaged condition to give you the opportunity to care for her and thus reap the rich blessings promised to those who sacrifice themselves in compassionate service to others.”
This is a precept that I find no scriptural reference to–that we were necessarily connected to or “chose” our parents in the life before, or our children chose us. It was the big objection I had to scenes in the production “Saturday’s Warrior.” There was the whole family, in heaven, in order of birth, looking just like they did in the play, all promising certain things to one another. One of my children’s seminary teachers also put forth this concept as fact. I was married, had two children, and then my husband wandered afield. I then had a child with my second husband. All children were born under the covenant, although the first covenant was broken by the choice of my husband, and then temple divorce. Do you really believe that my first children said, “We want V. to be our father?” and that the child from the second marriage said, “Ah, but G. shall be my father?” Incredible to me. I just don’t believe it. I also am not convinced that we are told ahead of time that we are going to be sent to a drunken, druggie of a mother who will abuse us, and we say, “Oh, give me that chance to prove myself.”
I was sent to a loving, secure, warm and clean home, and I’m grateful. But I think it was not through some choice of my own or my parents’. Also, I’m grateful for the intelligence and relatively healthy (though aging) body I received. Not all people are so blessed. What’s your documentation for the idea that we made pacts with family members?
On the other hand, I firmly believe that my granddaughter who was born five days after her great-grandfather died probably had a chance to meet him before she came.
Do your really believe that you were born in such a lovely home and to such wonderful parents purely as a result of chance? You are quite correct that we will find no scriptural reference that states that we choose in the spirit world to be associated with certain families here on earth. I mentioned, as you quoted above, that it was only “my supposition” that those relationships existed, and I am happy to support you in your differing opinion.
I just believe that those circumstances in family make-up that bring us concern are supported more by the continuation of loving relations that had been formed in the spirit world than by the operation of pure chance in mortality. There is no doubt that we did not live in a vacuum in the pre-mortal spirit world, and in that environment there was much that we had to do to prepare ourselves for mortality. There is also no doubt that we had the opportunity there to make covenants of obedience to the Lord. The declaration of the Lord to Abraham,
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born (Abraham 3:22-23)
This suggests not only the worthiness of noble spirits to qualify for the great blessings mentioned, but the confirmation of the promise of those great blessings in the endowments of the holy temple. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught
“Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365).
Part of the rationale for my belief is taken from one of the statements made in my own partriarchal blessing, which I will share with you. I was told:
“As you go forth and seek for the companion for our life’s work seek the Lord to guide and direct you that you might find the companion . . . with whom you may establish in your home the proper environment for the training and for the development of the choice spirits waiting to come upon the earth that they might come through the proper lineage to which they are entitled.”