Eternal Progression


STUDY GUIDE 4

Premortal Life
Many people have wondered, "Did we exist before our birth? Why are we here on earth? Where will we go after death?" The answers to these questions have been revealed by our Father in Heaven. We are literally his children. We lived with him as spirits before we were born. We were individuals and were created in the image of our Father. We were, however, unlike him in many ways. He was much more fully developed spiritually, and we did not have a physical body, as he does. To enable us to become like him, our Father in Heaven prepared a plan that allowed us to come to the earth.

Additional Study
We are the children of God: Acts 17:29; Romans 8:16
We lived with our Father in Heaven before we were born: Ecclesiastes 12:7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 9:2; Hebrews 12:9; Alma 13:1-13 (p.241)*
We can become like our Father in Heaven: Psalm 82:6; Luke 12:44; Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2

Mortal Life on Earth
In this mortal life, we are given opportunities to become like our Heavenly Father. As we are born into this life, our spirit enters a physical body. Although these bodies are mortal and imperfect, receiving them is the first step to receiving a glorified, immortal body like our Father has. This life is also a period of testing and tempering. Having no memory of our premortal life, we must act by faith. We experience difficulties and trials, and by overcoming them we develop many of the characteristics of our Father. He gives us commandments to point the way we should go to fulfill our purpose. But we are free to choose to obey or disobey. We are held responsible for our choices and actions.

Additional Study
The purpose of our mortal life is to work toward becoming like our Heavenly Father: Matthew 5:48; Acts 14:22; Philippians 2:12; 2 Peter 1:4; Alma 12:24 (p.239); Alma 34:31-32 (p.295); Abraham 3:25 (p.38)
Through the process of being tested we can grow and develop: Job 23:10; Romans 5:3; Hebrews 12:9; James 1:12
We are free to choose to obey or disobey: 2 Nephi 2:27-29 (p.59); Helaman 14:30-31 (p.403)

Life after Death
Because our bodies are mortal, each of us will die. This physical death is a part of the plan by which our imperfect mortal bodies are made perfect and immortal. At death our spirit leaves the physical body, but the spirit is still alive and is taken to the spirit world. There we await the resurrection and the judgment. Jesus taught that to be saved in the kingdom of heaven a person must accept him and be baptized. But millions leave this life without hearing of the Savior. In the spirit world the gospel will be taught to all who died without the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ and his gospel.

Additional Study
When we die, our spirits are taken home to God: Ecclesiastes 12:7; Alma 40:11-14 (p.308)
The gospel is being preached to those in the spirit world: John 5:25, 28; 1 Peter 3:18-19; 1 Peter 4:6; Doctine and Covenants 138

Eternal Life
When we are resurrected, we receive a perfect, immortal body and dwell in a state of glory. The degree of that glory will depend on our faithfulness in this life. If we have been faithful and worthy, we will be with our Father in the celestial glory. Those who receive this glory will know a fullness of joy. Those who do not accept the gospel of Christ and repent of their sins will receive lesser degrees of glory.
During this mortal life God gives us the power to bring children into this world. This power of procreation is a sacred, divine gift. God has set high standards for controlling it within the marriage relationship. By sharing in the creation of life and by nurturing and guiding our families in righteousness, we can work toward becoming like our Father.
The marriage and family relationships need not end with death. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, God has revealed that families can be sealed together for eternity. This sacred sealing ceremony is performed in temples under the authority of the priesthood.

Additional Study
There will be different degrees of glory in the resurection: John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 15:40-41; 2 Corinthians 12:2; Philippians 3:21; Doctrine and Covenants 88:18-32
The power to bring children into this world is a sacred gift: Genesis 1:27-28; Psalm 127:3-5
Families can be eternal: Matthew 16:19; 1 Corinthians 11:11

The Commandments God Has Given for Cleanliness
God has given us laws to govern the sacred power of procreation, and penalties for abusing it. He has commanded us to refrain from any sexual relations outside the marriage relationship. Jesus taught that even impure thoughts make us unclean and unworthy to return to our Father in Heaven. We must keep our thought clean and be modest in our actions, speech, and dress.


"THOU SHALT NOT
COMMIT ADULTERY."


Exodus 20:14

God has taught us that in all ways we are to treat our bodies as sacred temples. To help us understand this principle, he revealed to Joseph Smith a law of health known as the Word of Wisdom. We should not take into our bodies alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other harmful drugs. These substances damage our bodies and affect our spirits. The Word of Wisdom gives counsel on wholesome foods. The Lord promises that if we obey this law, we will enjoy greater health. We will find great treasures of wisdom, strength, and divine protection. We will receive greater happiness in this life and prove ourselves worthy of great joy in the next life.


WORD OF WISDOM

Abstain from--

Alcohol
Tea
Tobacco
Coffee
Harmful drugs

Additional Study
We are commanded to avoid sexual sin or "anything like unto it": Matthew 5:28; Matthew 19:16-18; Alma 39:3-5; Doctrine and Covenants 59:6
We must keep even our thoughts clean and pure: Matthew 5:28; Matthew 15:19-20; Mosiah 4:30
Those who violate the law of chastity pay a price: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Helaman 4:24

What Can You Do to Live the Laws of God?
1. Read Alma 11-13,34 and Helaman 14. Continue reading the Book of Mormon from beginning to end.

2. Begin immediately to abstain from using any harmful substances (alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea).

3. Commit yourself to honor the law of chastity in both thought and deed.

4. Pray for strength and guidance in living these laws of God.

5. Attend worship services of the Church with a Church member.

6. Take part in the fifth discussion with the missionaries.


Cover (Top Picture): Mother and Child by Mary Teasdale
Oil on canvas. Utah State Fine Art Collection,
administered by the Utah Arts Council. Used by permission.
*References to the Book of Mormon are followed by the page number where the passage is found. All other references are to the Bible.
Copyright © 1986 by Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
All Rights Reserved
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