Where Do Babies Come From?

by
February 4, 2008

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:

-William Wordsworth

We lived as spirits before we were born. This is one of those truths that many people accept and believe when they hear it, yet very few Christian ministers will teach it. It surprises me.

What was it like to live as a spirit? We don’t have all the details, but we do know that we had a Father who loved us. In His hopes for our futures he saw us growing up in integrity and character. To help us in our education and progression, he created the world and offered each of us the chance to live on it in physical, mortal bodies.

The physical realm was a step up for us. It meant becoming a bit more like Father, since his body was physical, immortal, and perfect. Of course, mortality, as we’ve all found out, has its pitfalls. Disease, poverty, hunger, death, and other misfortunes of many kinds are the tests we’ve been given to help us grow, both collectively and individually.

Central to Father’s plan was a Savior, a person who would not only mitigate the challenges of mortal living, but also vanquish death itself. Permanently. He would also bridge the chasm of sin…the chasm we help dig by our own poor decisions.

Jesus Christ, then known as Jehovah, was the first-born of the Father, and the obvious candidate for the job. We shouted for joy at the thought of our eldest brother leading us into this new frontier. We knew we would be fine if He was our Savior. We already had faith in him.

Another of Father’s most clever sons also came, vying for the position. Lucifer’s campaign promises included saving all people from sin and death (by removing their free will). He must have been persuasive, because he drew a third of all spirits with him, but rather than getting their demands, they were denied entrance into physical bodies of their own.

We know that since we are here, we made the right choice. Before we were born we had faith in Jesus Christ, and we can have faith in him still. He will do everything he set out to do, and we can make the choice every day to be on His side.

See “The Plan of Salvation

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7 Responses to “Where Do Babies Come From?”

  1. Eric Nielson

    Well done. A nice review.

  2. RTC

    Thaddeus, as a non-believer who has been away from the Mormon scene for almost 6 years, I have to admit that as I read this I’m kind of stunned but how unbelievable it seems to me now.

    Here’s the critic’s response:
    (1) If god is all-powerful, why do his kids have to suffer through mortality in order to become like him? That seems like god isn’t all-powerful.
    (2) If god is all-knowing and our creator, then doesn’t that make him responsible when people fail? He did know, before all, that they would fail, right? So why did he send them to their doom?
    (3) How does believing any of this help me now? As Marx put it, isn’t religion the opiate of the masses? I want a comfortable life now and don’t want to hedge my bets on the future.

  3. Thaddeus

    1) God the Father has all power within certain bounds. For instance, he tells us, that if he did not enforce justice he would “cease to be God.” Alma 42:13 He is our Father and we have the capacity to become like Him. A successful businessman may deed his company to his son, but the son does not automatically inherit his father’s business savvy.

    2) That is precisely the beauty of the plan (and the key reason our biased pre-mortal memories were wiped): we are responsible for our choices. We get what we deserve. (We actually all get more than we deserve because of the mercy of Christ).

    Think of the alternatives:
    a) Reward everyone according to what they would have done. (You’re right; God can see it coming). Isn’t that unfair to the people who get lesser rewards, since they never had the chance to prove themselves?
    b) Reward everyone equally. Why should anyone be rewarded for what they would have done? Plus, It’s a bit lopsided against the people who would have tried very hard and sacrificed all they had.
    c) Reward the potential sinners and punish the worshipers. Well that hardly seems right.

    We would be missing the whole point of life: growth. The challenges are not here to make us miserable. We are here to learn from them and become more godly in our character.

    3) Instant gratification makes you happy for a moment, but once it passes the hedonist must search for the next, more stimulating pleasure. He never knows nor understands joy.

    Knowing about the plan of salvation gives life perspective and context. Using this knowledge you can apply yourself to endeavors that will bring lasting satisfaction. Things like a loving family, well-developed talents, close relationships, and a charitable attitude. Contrast these ideals with the worldly pursuit of money, drugs, fame, and sex.

    Some religions may just be opiates and crutches, but not mine.

  4. RTC

    1) Then god is not all-powerful. What you said is like saying, “I have a laser that encompasses the entire spectrum of electromagnetism, but it’s really just the visible wavelengths.” Either it is all of the spectrum or just some, it can’t be both! Either god is all powerful (by definition) or god is not. If god is bound by anything, god is not all powerful.

    2) You missed my point: Why have a plan at all? If god is all-powerful, then just make more gods just like him and give them all the knowledge he has. That makes a lot more sense than screwing around with mortals, death, birth, rituals, temples, missionaries, pre-existences, multiple kingdoms in the afterlife, buried plates that disappear when people want to inspect them, etc. An all-powerful deity makes other all-powerful deity; it’s logically absurd to think otherwise.

    3) All religions are opiates. Only those wholly affected by the opiates are too blinded by the effects to realize their religion is an opiate.

  5. Megan

    If I understand correctly, you’re saying an all-powerful God would not need to make His heirs actually experience anything because His power could simply impart all knowledge and power to said heirs, right?

    But who are we to question the ways an all powerful God works? What if His method of transferring power and knowledge IS by actually making us experience life and learn from our mistakes? Why bypass mortal existence if that is the process by which we gain our knowledge? Why does all-powerful have to be equal to instantaneous-poof!-endowed-with-knowledge?

  6. RTC

    Hi Megan…

    Yes, you are understanding me correctly.

    “[W]ho are we to question the ways an all powerful God works?”
    We are the ones who created that god in the first place. We are precisely the ones who should question those ways, since we made them up. If you don’t question, you implicitly condone blind obedience.

    “What if His method of transferring power and knowledge IS by actually making us experience life and learn from our mistakes?”
    If that is his method, he/she/it is not a very nice god. That would imply it is okay with suffering when it cannot do something about it. Yes, you’ll say that that is because it is for our own good, but that is a circular argument:
    God can do something about suffering but doesn’t. Why doesn’t he? Because it is for our own good. How do we know it is for our own good? Because god would take care of it otherwise.

    Sorry, this is a cop-out response; please don’t use.

    “Why does all-powerful have to be equal to instantaneous-poof!-endowed-with-knowledge?”
    Doing it otherwise would imply a “perfect” god employs a less-than-pragmatic, imperfect method to make imperfect things that then have to try to perfect themselves. How can imperfection come from perfection? Why would a loving god willfully create imperfect things then watch them suffer? That sounds like a vengeful, mean god to me. I chose to reject belief in such an illogical, punitive, puny god.

  7. Jancisco

    Such an interesting choice:
    either we all come to earth to make choices, learn, rely on the Lord, become better, have families, and figure out what we are really about and prove ourselves worthy;

    or, everyone comes to earth and are forced to do what God tells them to do (make them all gods, so that not one is lost).

    I think this is an old argument. And I think that the proper option has already been selected.

    “That Satan, whom thou hast commmanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying–Behold, here am I, send me, and I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. . . Wherefore because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;” (Moses 4:1,3)