I have always had a question. It is always said that if we hold faithful, we will fulfill priesthood callings that we have been designed to hold (from pre-existence). Isn’t fatherhood/being a spouse as important or more important of a calling? I know the LDS stance is that we are not “predestined” to be with any particular partner, but I can’t imagine that Father doesn’t have any one planned for us “dependent on our personal righteousness.” What is your thoughts?
You are quite right that the Church does not believe in predestination as it is commonly understood. The most common understanding of predestination is that God has a plan for you, and no matter what you do you will play your part in that plan as God intended. Such an idea runs counter to our moral agency, and we are taught that God’s plan involves us making a choice to follow God or not.
Per the LDS faith, God’s plan can handle us making good choices and it can handle us making bad choices. If God’s plan irrevocably failed the moment we made a wrong choice it would not be much of a plan.
So we do not believe in predestination. We do however believe in foreordination.
In Alma 13 we are told that God prepared people in the pre-existence for certain callings and tasks. This is where the term comes from. However to your question, no scripture explicitly states one way or the other if foreordination includes parenthood, being a spouse, and/or being children to a particular couple or individual.
Thus we are left to speculate. Were we foreordained to be someone’s child? Someone’s spouse? Someone’s parent? That is a question that can only be answered between you and God.
I tend to think that it is a very real possibility for a lot of people (but maybe not all). That being said, we need to be careful that we do not take this possibility and twist it into a form of predestination. With all foreordinations, the people here and now have to make that choice to bring it to pass.
Now on the subject of spouses and marriage there is a worldly view of “predestination” known as “Soul Mates.” There is a lot of romanticism surrounding the term, and the Church leaders have clearly denounced this variation as well. But please note that “Soul Mate” is not the same as “Foreordained Spouse” (assuming that is how it was set up and yes I just made that term up) even though there can be quite a bit of overlap. The first robs agency. The second is subject to agency.
Let’s give an example of the difference between foreordination and predestination to help clarify it a bit more. If someone is foreordained to be a bishop (or a prophet or a apostle or a spouse) they agreed in the pre-existence to fulfill that role while in mortality. Once in mortality said person has the responsibility to live their life so that it can happen. The blessing gained by obedience, or loss by disobedience in bringing this foreordination to pass is on the head of the individual in question. Where as with predestination it does not matter what bad choices or what good choices you might make. You will fulfill the role even if God has to drag you kicking and screaming. When it comes to spouses, if we believe in the predestined form of soul mates we might decide to sit back and do nothing to prepare ourselves because “God will make it happen.” Or at the other extreme, break every promise and covenant we had already made in pursuit of our soul mate thinking such actions will be justified.
So the Church teaches against soul mates and other forms of predestination to ensure that we are an active player in our life. Also that we seek to bring to “pass much righteousness.” Rather then waiting for God to drop it into our laps with no effort. And that when we sin, when we fall short, when doors that we thought we were going to pass through suddenly close on us, we can pick ourselves back up with the Lord’s help. We can know that the plan of God in our life is not thwarted. It’s just going in a way we, with our limited understanding, did not foresee.