Did You Choose Your Family in the Pre-Existence?

Cover of
Cover of "Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families" children's book

The very simple answer is we don’t know. There are a few different theories and explanations for whether or not we chose our family in the pre-existence, which we will explore in this article.

The Plan of Salvation

There are only a handful of things we KNOW with certainty about the premortal life. One thing we KNOW is that in the premortal life, we had our agency. Before we came to Earth, we were allowed to choose to accept Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation or to rebel with Lucifer. All who are on the Earth accepted the plan and received the gift of a physical body. Because of Alma 13:3-9, we also KNOW that in the premortal life, certain people were foreordained to certain offices or callings. For example, we know that Melchizedek Priesthood leaders were foreordained in the premortal life, meaning God appointed them to fulfill specific missions during their lives on the earth.

The Prophet Joseph Smith even said, “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 that I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council.”

This principle of foreordination does not just apply to men, but also women. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Remember, 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.”

We do not know how much we knew about our personal, earthly journeys or circumstances when we agreed to come to earth. That being said, there is nothing written saying we chose our parents or spouses before coming to earth.

Family You Grew up With

Growing up, I always heard parents jokingly say, “You can’t complain too much about the way we are raising you. You chose to come and live with this family!” This seemed to be common knowledge among Latter-day Saint families, that their children selected them in the premortal life. Although I have not found any doctrine or words from prophetic leaders to support this theory.

While the idea that we selected our family in the premortal life may bring comfort to some individuals, for people with less than ideal family situations, this idea can bring harm.  Abused children or spouses would hate to believe they selected the situation they are in. Or what about single adults? Or married couples who cannot have children. Does that mean one wanted to have them as their parents? How damaging this could be to someone in that position.

Family You Will Choose

Okay so maybe children did not select their parents, but what if spouses selected each other? I have heard a few husbands and wives say that they have had some spiritual confirmation that they coveted to be together during their lives on the earth.

Again, what a comfort this could be to some, but also very damaging to other individuals. What about single adults? People who either have not gotten married yet or who will never get married in this lifetime. If we believe we all selected our spouses in the premortal life, what does that mean for them? That they weren’t selected? So you may not have selected your spouse in the premortal life.

We Chose Heavenly Father’s Family

Clearly there are a few ideas of if we chose our families in the premortal life. Maybe there is an answer we can all agree on.

What if when we claim that we chose our family, we are referring to when we are sealed into Heavenly Father’s family after we receive our temple ordinances and keep our covenants. Could that be us choosing our family? We can feel peace knowing we all have a place in His family because we are all His children.

When we receive our temple ordinances and then keep them, we are sealed into HF’s family eternally. Choosing Christ in the pre-existence doesn’t give us that place

Do you think we selected our families in the premortal life?

Madi Wickham is a junior in the Public Relations program at Brigham Young University. She was raised on the beaches of San Diego, California, but has fallen in love with the mountains of Utah. She is a sunset enthusiast and a Trader Joes loyalist who has a special love for the outdoors and traveling.