On Saturday night, Superman and I had the opportunity to chaperone the youth dance (for teenagers in our church ages 14-18). We wandered the halls, watched awkwardly as teenagers wriggled and strut, we managed the snack table, and guarded the purses in the coat check. It was a pretty dull night for us, but we did have some interesting things happen.
One of the interesting things was a conversation with a fellow chaperone. As we talked, we realized we knew several people in common. We discussed these people affectionately and positively. We talked about how as you grow older, you have less time for friends. You can let five years pass by without so much as a birthday card, but you can call them up out of the blue and pick up right where you left off.
As I thought about this, I realized it was pretty true. We have made so many friends and I am abysmal at keeping in touch with them, but the other day, one of them texted me and it was like no time had passed. This led me to another thought: our relationship with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and Satan. I know that sounds weird but bear with me here.
In my Faith, we believe that our existence didn’t start at conception. We believe that we lived in heaven a long time ago, it is true. Lived there and loved there with people we know, so did you. We lived with our Heavenly Father as spirits before we came to the earth and got physical bodies. We call this the Premortal Existence. We came to this earth to be tested, to prove who we would follow, who we are loyal to: Heavenly Father or Satan. In order to truly be tested, we had to forget the details of our past lives. That’s not to say we’re floundering alone. We have Christ’s example, we have the words of the prophets, and most importantly, we have personal revelation.
Similar to middle school our Premortal Existence is something that we don’t remember (or want to remember) but it was vital in setting us up for our future. Middle school acts as a precursor to High School, preparing us for exams, social norms, independence, and high expectations. Our Premortal Existence set us up for who we are now, the families we are in, the life we have and even predispositions that we struggle with.
When we think of our Premortal Existence, we write it off as a mystery we will never know until after death. It is just that annoying part of our life that we won’t get to enjoy right now, like a soap opera character with amnesia. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life pondering premortal life and wishing I could remember it. I have always had this deep aching desire to know what premortal life was like. As I have spent so much time pondering, praying, and reading my scriptures, I have realized that I have learned quite a bit about our time before this life.
One of the earliest things that I came to know and understand was that before this life, I had a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not only is He my “Big Brother” in that vague statement that gets tossed out there, but He’s my older brother. He has a vested interest in my progression as His younger sibling. He’s better than those TV sitcom brothers who are rude, aggressive, taunt and harass the younger siblings, but show up when they really need it. He is always loving, caring, awesome and careful with us. He may be blunt and tell us to get ourselves together and improve, but He does it in a loving way. He is consistent, never changing. If you see that He is that way with you in the past, He is that way now.
If you feel like, you don’t have a relationship with Christ, you’re wrong. You’ve always had that relationship, you just have to tap into it. It’s like those friends that you’ve lost contact with, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, just reach out and connect. You can pick up right where you left off (even if you don’t remember it).
I could go on about our relationship with Heavenly Father, but like our relationship with Christ, it’s there, we just have to pick up where we left off.
You may be wondering how? Well, there’s prayer. That may seem like a lame answer, but recently a young teenage boy made me think about prayer differently. I had heard this analogy SO many times, but for some reason, seeing it acted out in front of my face was different.
This young man pulled out his cell phone from his pocket, dialed his dad and then proceeded to talk to him. “Hey dad, thanks for the clothes that you buy me, thanks for the food you provide for me, thanks for giving me a home, and so many other great things. Oh hey, can I have this, and this, should I go on a mission? I’m really unsure about this other thing too. Ok, love ya, bye.” It’s not as effective when you read it, but basically it was a very one sided conversation. He illustrated the importance of pausing when you pray and listening.
If you feel like you’re trying to pick up that long lost relationship, but it’s just not happening, maybe it’s not Them, it’s probably you. Take a minute, listen.
I mentioned three relationships that we had in the premortal existence: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and Satan. We often focus only on that positive loving relationship between us and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but it’s also important that we remember that Satan (A.K.A. Lucifer) was there too. He wasn’t yet the evilest thing in the history of us. He was our brother, and as our brother, we had a relationship with him. We probably had a good relationship with him. He was probably a confident, a friend, a trusted and beloved person in our life; which makes his betrayal only worse.
You know in Frozen when Hans betrays Anna and you want to strangle him for being the world’s biggest jerk-face? Well multiply that by a bajillion. He not only fought and fights against Heavenly Father, but he fights against us individually. To make this situation way worse, he doesn’t have the veil of forgetfulness. He remembers everything, crystal clear. He remembers who we are, the things we struggled with then (and probably still struggle with now) and he uses each one against us.
Those moments when we feel like our life is a joke, when it’s hopeless, that we aren’t as valuable as others, when we feel our darkest feelings and lowest lows, we need to be on the defensive. Satan knows exactly how to get at us in the worst ways possible.
Why is this important? Well, we know we had a relationship, we know that he’s a Jerk-Face McGee. And I’m sure if we really thought about it, we could really recognize his subtle influence and “energy”/presence. Just like when you’re watching a movie or show and the music changes dark and full of suspense, you know he’s there, lurking and you can tell him to bug off, because this is one relationship you don’t want to pick up where you left off (like Hans, let him go!).
When you feel the Jerk-Face’s presence, you can turn away from him, and turn towards your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That alone will send the little sneak running with his tail between his legs.
By understanding and tapping into our past relationships, we can overcome and grow stronger in our life.
How do you use your knowledge of the Premortal Existence to help you?