Cover image: “A Pas de Deux,” Yongsung Kim, https://havenlight.com.

What if the veil was lifted today and we saw ourselves back in the premortal world? Who were we there?  What amazing things were we learning? Why did we decide to come here? What covenants did we make?  Sometimes in very still moments of our lives we get magnificent glimpses…

My Own Glimpse of Pre-mortality

Many years ago, after delivering a beautiful baby boy and holding him in my arms, I had a never to be forgotten experience where I caught a sudden and breathtaking spiritual glimpse of the existence before this one.  Suddenly I was there with this son, (who was an adult spirit), and we felt such love for each other.  My spiritual memory was opened up to remember that he had chosen me to be his mother, and that I had most willingly and joyfully agreed.  He also made it clearly known to me that he wanted his name in this life to be Gary.

This window of enlightenment was short-lived, but it revealed enough to me that I KNEW who he was, and knew that I chose him and that he chose me! We made eternal promises to each other.

Who we must nurture, what we must accomplish, and what we seek to learn in this life are often covenant driven.

Heavens Opened to See Son’s Pre-mortal Spirit

A woman named Ava shared a profound experience with me.  Ava had an adult son, Chris that struggled with his testimony and in his personal life. She often had heartbreaking battles with him because of his personal choices and the sorrow he caused others.  On one such occasion she describes a marvelous experience she was allowed to have.  She writes:

“I walked into my kitchen and began to wash dishes, sobbing the whole time. I cried out to Heavenly Father, ‘My son has caused me so much pain!’ “Immediately, it was as if the Heavens opened, and I could see my son and I standing before Heavenly Father. Chris and I both had our arms raised to the square and we were covenanting with Him to come to the earth, receive a body, and do our best to return home to Him.

“I heard a voice say to me, ‘your son was in the pre-mortal world too.  He knows the same things you know. It is not YOU that you should feel sorry for, it is HIM. That is because his body is being denied what his spirit knows to be true. He is my son. I know him better than you. Let him go and I will work the miracle.’

And so, I did.

“Not that there haven’t been some bumps in the road. There have been many. He continues to try my patience and I have had my doubts at times. But this vision stays with me whenever these challenges occur.”[1]

Sister Wendy Nelson sheds light on Ava’s experience.  She said,

“If the veil were lifted and we could look back, we would see ourselves as His spirit sons and daughters making pre-mortal covenants with God, our Heavenly Father.”[2]

What Did You Covenant To Do? 

Echoing Sister Nelson’s words, Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “We know that we made covenants with God premortally.”[3]

What covenants might you have made? Did you covenant to help an eternal companion overcome the fiery darts of the adversary? To raise a difficult child who would need additional love? To live a faithful life despite physical, spiritual or financial challenges?  Is it possible that you volunteered for such an assignment in the pre-mortal world?

Volunteering for Struggle

Kendra Burton was given a sure knowledge that she had purposely chosen the difficult life she had to live.  She had a daughter (Rachel) that was born with hydrocephalus and needed 24/7 care for nine years.  Kendra had to manage tube feedings, medications, seizures, and surgeries all the while caring for her other four children.  Rachel was never ever able to walk, talk or eat which made everything harder.

As a beautiful compensation for her long and exhausting trial, Kendra was given a transcendent experience after Rachel’s death.  She writes,

I had an experience where I was shown our family, my husband and I with our future children in the pre-mortal life, making plans for our earthly experience.  

A Christ-like man came to assist us in choosing what would bring each of us the most spiritual growth. Rachel and I were dearest friends there.  She was more advanced than I was.

“It was suggested that if she came down with these physical problems we could all learn tremendous lessons. The man opened a glimpse of what WE might experience. Upon seeing this, Rachel felt it would be too difficult for me and volunteered to go to another family.

The man took Rachel away from our family gathering and showed her more of what we would learn. She acquired new insight. When they returned to us, my husband and I said we loved her so much and were willing to do whatever it would take to have her with us. And then Rachel, fully knowing what she would suffer in this life, willingly volunteered saying, ‘I will do it!’ 

My heart will be forever grateful to this beautiful soul.”[4]

What we agreed to do- For Such A Time as This

Could the things we are going through be a part of a bigger plan that we wholeheartedly consented to? President Spencer W. Kimball taught,

“… in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to.”[5]

When Esther had to face potentially devastating adversity, Mordecai, her uncle said, “… and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”[6]

Each of us is here for such a time as this.  What if you learned that the difficulties you are presently encountering are related to promises and covenants you made in premortality?  Would that change the way you looked at your life’s challenges? It sure did to the man in this final story…

37 Years of Suffering Finally Understood

For 37 years Don Lynn Wood had cystic fibrosis, a painful disorder that affects the lungs and digestive system.  One day in desperation he prayed, begging God,

“Why is it necessary for me to suffer so? I am a worthy member of the Church; I kept all the commandments. Why me?

“Then I received a most startling answer. He [God] said to me: You chose your disease and the amount of pain you would be willing to suffer before this life — when you were in a pre-mortal state. It was your choice…

I was both astonished and incredulous. He must have understood my incredulity, because I was immediately transported to my pre-mortal existence. There was a room that I was viewing from above and to the side, but at the same time I was sitting in it. In a sense I was both an observer and a participant. About thirty people were in the room, both men and women, and we were all dressed in white.

An instructor was in the front of the room, and he was teaching about accountability and responsibility — and about pain. He was instructing us about things we had to know in order to come to earth and get our bodies. Then he said, and I’ll never forget this: ‘You can learn lessons one of two ways. You can move through life slowly, and have certain experiences, or there are ways that you can learn the lessons very quickly through pain and disease.’ He wrote on the board the words: ‘Cystic Fibrosis,’ and he turned and asked for volunteers. I was a volunteer: I saw me raise my hand and offer to take the challenge.

“The instructor looked at me and agreed to accept me. That was the end of the scene, and it changed forever my perspective of the disease that I previously felt was a plague on my life. No longer did I consider myself a victim…I knew that I was a powerful, spiritual being that chose to have a short, but marvelous, mortal existence…“In the broadest sense I now saw myself as master of my own destiny — if I lived up to the possibilities of my choices. Instead of looking at cystic fibrosis as a severe disability, I was now able to look on it as my truest mentor.” [7]

What a powerful epiphany that can speak to all of us as we experience difficult things in this life!

Our Spirits Can Remember

President Russell M. Nelson taught,

“You were taught in the spirit world to prepare you for anything and everything you would encounter during this latter part of these latter days. That teaching endures within you![8]

On some level our spirits know what we agreed to do in this life.  When we become still and humbly ask for enlightenment, there are times we get magnificent glimpses into who we are and what we previously covenanted to do.

You Are Welcome to CONTACT me at [email protected]


[1] Ava Holley, personal correspondence.  Used with permission.  

[2] Wendy Watson Nelson, Covenant Keepers, p. 33.

[3] Neal A Maxwell, “Premortality, a Glorious Reality,” Ensign, Nov, 1985. 15-18.

[4] Kendra Burton, personal correspondence.  Used with permission.

[5] Spencer W. Kimball,The Role of Righteous Women, October 1979. Italics added.

[6] Esther 4:14

[7] Don Lynn Wood, http://uvicf.org/tributes/DLWoodStory.html

Brother Wood died in 1997.

[8] Russell M. Nelson, World Wide Devotional “Stand as True Millennials, 2016. Italics added.