A question was recently asked in a Relief Society discussion of a lesson I was teaching. I was wondering if you could answer this question. Were relations foreordained in the premortal life?
We can find no specific scriptural reference that would indicate that we somehow chose our family relationships in the spirit world. However, reason dictates that there must have been familial commitments made in the spirit world that were to be honored in mortality and in eternity. Just to consider one example, Abraham declared:
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).
To be a ruler in eternity requires that sacred covenants be made in the holy temples in mortality. If these covenants are honored by those who make them, they will inherit the promise to become rulers in eternity. That promise is confirmed upon those who are sealed together as husband and wife for time and for eternity. (Please see D&C 132:19)
It is difficult to image that the promises made to many of the noble and great ones in the grand council in heaven were made without any regard to the eternal partnerships that would be involved therein.
We do know from the words of the Prophet that callings to positions of service in the holy priesthood in mortality are the fulfilment of callings in the spirit worlds to become such.
“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, Section Six 1843-44, p.365).
We make commitments in the this life with the promise of attendant blessings in the life to come if we continue faithful. Each phase of our existence is somehow a type of that which is to come. I would imagine that many of the blessings associated with the gospel of Jesus Christ that we receive in this life are the result of faithful compliance with sacred promises made in the pre-mortal spirit world.