“The Great Council in Heaven,” Friend, Jan. 1983, 48
Before this earth was organized so that we could live on it, we lived very happily as spirit children of our heavenly parents. Our spirits looked like the physical bodies that we have now, and each spirit had a distinct personality with strengths and weaknesses. While in this spirit world, we grew until we could no longer progress without a physical body. We wanted to prove our worthiness and become more like our Heavenly Father. We were anxious to receive a physical body and undergo a time of testing.
Heavenly Father called a great council of all His spirit children. All the noble and great ones who would live on the earth were there—future prophets, apostles, presidents, mothers and fathers, and all those who would come to earth in the last days to teach the gospel to the people of the world.
Heavenly Father explained that an earth would be prepared for us and that we would each receive a physical body. While on earth, we would have our agency, the freedom to choose between right and wrong. Of course, Heavenly Father knew we would be happier if we chose the right, but agency meant that we would also have the ability to choose the wrong. To help us make right choices, we would be taught gospel principles so that we would know how we should live.
Heavenly Father told us that after we were born on earth, we would not remember our life in heaven. We would need to use faith, to trust in God without being able to see Him. Heavenly Father knew from His own experiences that choosing the right is sometimes very hard but that this would make us stronger. He also knew that some of His children would choose evil and would be unable to return to Him, however much He loved them.
Heavenly Father knew we would all make mistakes, and He explained that we would need a savior, a person who would be willing to atone for our sins so that we could receive forgiveness when we repent. One of the Spirits among us was like God. He offered to serve Heavenly Father and be a savior for all the spirit children. This was Jesus. Because of His great love for us, His brothers and sisters, He offered to give His life to atone for our sins. He would also teach us what we must do to return to Heavenly Father. Unselfishly He said, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”
Lucifer, another of God’s spirit sons, proposed, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem [save] all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”
Lucifer’s willful, glory-seeking plan would have forced all the children of God to return to heaven. He wanted to take away our greatest gift, the right to choose for ourselves. Lucifer would not have allowed anyone to make a wrong decision, and we would have been like puppets with him controlling us.
Some of God’s children liked Lucifer’s idea, and one-third of them decided to follow him. Heavenly Father loved Lucifer and these spirit children, but because they refused to follow His plan, they were no longer worthy to remain with Him. Therefore they were cast out of heaven and could not be born on the earth and receive physical bodies.
Many of those who followed Heavenly Father’s plan were ordained to do important things on earth. Each of us has received special talents and abilities that can be increased when we use them to help each other. Heavenly Father has provided everything we need to return to Him.