Gospel Principles Lesson 2 – Our Heavenly Family
Our Heavenly Family
We Are Children of Our Heavenly Father
31110, Gospel Principles, Unit One: Our Premortal Life with God, 2: Our Heavenly Family, We Are Children of Our Heavenly Father, 11
God is not only our ruler and creator; he is also our Heavenly Father. “All men and women are … literally the sons and daughters of Deity. … Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body” (Joseph F. Smith, “The Origin of Man,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, pp. 78, 80).
Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21), so he is literally our elder brother (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 26). Because we are the spiritual children of our heavenly parents, we have inherited the potential to develop their divine qualities. If we choose to do so, we can become perfect, just as they are.
• Who is the Father of our spirits?
• Where did we live before we were born on earth?
• What is our relationship to God and to each other? Read Hebrews 12:9.
• Who was the first spirit born to our heavenly parents?
• How are we like our heavenly parents?
We Developed Personalities and Talents While We Lived in Heaven
The scriptures teach us that the prophets prepared themselves to become leaders on earth while they were still spirits in heaven (see Alma 13:1–3). God foreordained (chose) them to be his leaders on earth before they were born into mortal bodies. Jesus, Adam, and Abraham were some of these leaders. (See Abraham 3:22–23.) Joseph Smith taught that everyone who has a calling to lead people on earth in the Church was foreordained to do so (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365). However, everyone is free on earth to accept or reject the calling.
We were not all alike in heaven. We were given different talents and abilities, and we were called to do different things on earth. (See Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 51.) We can learn more about our talents and callings when we receive our patriarchal blessings (see Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, p. 117).
Even though we have forgotten, our Father in Heaven remembers who we were and what we did before we came here (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 50). He has chosen the time and place for each of us to be born so we can learn the lessons we personally need and do the most good with our individual talents and personalities.
• What was our premortal life like?
Our Heavenly Parents Desired to Share Their Joy with Us
Our heavenly parents provided us with a celestial home more glorious and beautiful than any place on earth. We were happy there. Yet they knew we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left them for a time. They wanted us to develop the godlike qualities that they have. To do this, we needed to leave our celestial home to be tested and to gain experience. We needed to choose good over evil. Our spirits needed to be clothed with physical bodies. We would need to leave our physical bodies at death and reunite with them in the Resurrection. Then we would receive immortal bodies like those of our heavenly parents. If we passed our tests, we would receive the fulness of joy that our heavenly parents have received. (See D&C 93:30–34.)
• How does earth life help prepare us to become like our heavenly parents?
Our Heavenly Father Presented a Plan for Us to Become like Him
Since we could not progress further in heaven, our Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present his plan for our progression (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 348, 349, 365). We learned that if we followed his plan, we would become like him. We would have a resurrected body; we would have all power in heaven and on earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as he does (see D&C 132:19–20).
We learned that he would provide an earth for us where we would be tested (see Abraham 3:24–26). A veil would cover our memories, and we would forget our heavenly home. This would be necessary so we could choose good or evil without being influenced by the memory of living with our Heavenly Father. Thus we could obey him because of our faith in him, not because of our knowledge or memory of him. He would help us recognize the truth when we heard it again on earth (see John 18:37).
At the Grand Council we also learned the purpose for our progression: to have a fulness of joy. However, we also learned that not all of our Father’s children would want to receive a fulness of joy. Some of us would be deceived, choose other paths, and lose our way. We learned that all of us would have trials in our lives: sickness, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and death. But we understood that these would be given to us for our experience and our good (see D&C 122:7). If we allowed them to, these trials would purify us rather than defeat us. They would teach us to have endurance, patience, and charity (see Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp. 97–98).
At this council we also learned that because of our weakness, all of us would sin. We learned that a Savior would be provided for us so we could overcome our sins and overcome death with resurrection. We learned that if we placed our faith in him, obeying his word and following his example, we would be exalted and become like our heavenly parents. We would receive a fulness of joy.
• What plan did our Heavenly Father present to us?
• What did we learn would happen to us on earth?
• Why would our Father in Heaven permit us to experience suffering and death on earth?
• Hebrews 12:9 (God is the father of our spirits)
• Job 38:4–7 (premortal life implied)
• Abraham 3:22–28 (vision of premortal life)
• Jeremiah 1:5 (vision of premortal life)
• D&C 29:31–38 (vision of premortal life)
• Moses 3:4–7 (spiritual then temporal creations)
• 1 Corinthians 15:44 (spiritual and temporal creations)
• D&C 76:23–24 (begotten sons and daughters)
• D&C 132:11–26 (plan for progression)
Our Father provided us a heavenly home more glorious and beautiful than any place on earth.
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This is the lesson I am preparing for next sunday in my sunday school class. Here is a link to the church’s web site
I teach the gospel principles class, which is a basic overview of the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.