Like most Christians, Mormons believe in life after death, but members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) also believe in life before birth. This unique doctrine gives members insight into why we are here and what life’s purpose is.
Mormon doctrine teaches that individuals have always existed. We are the children of Heavenly Parents who created spirit bodies for all the “intelligences” (an “intelligence” in Mormon terminology describes an individual before it had a spirit body). We lived as spirits for an unknown amount of time, perhaps eons, with God our Heavenly Father. We gained knowledge, developed talents and personalities, and made friends. As spirits, we finally got to a point where we could no longer progress. Mormons believe that God has an immortal, glorified body of flesh and bones and we knew that gaining a physical body would be the only way to continue progressing.
Heavenly Father called a council in heaven that all of His spirit children attended, and there He presented a plan of salvation. This plan would give us physical bodies and time in mortality to prove how well we handled our physical bodies and our agency. The plan also allowed us to gain wisdom through experiences. If we did well in mortality we would eventually be able to become like our Father with perfect love, justice, and mercy. As the plan was presented Heavenly Father also told us that we would be tempted, that life would be dangerous and painful, and that some may not make it to exaltation (living with God again).
Because of sin, it was necessary to have a redeemer so that we could repent. Two of Heavenly Father’s children said they would accept this job. Lucifer was one of them. Lucifer was an influential and strong spirit. His plan was to force obedience to God’s commandments so that all would be exalted. Lucifer also wanted all of the glory for carrying out the plan. Heavenly Father would not allow agency to be taken from man, for without agency we could not grow. Jehovah was the other spirit that offered to fulfill the role of redeemer. Jehovah was the firstborn of all spirits and promised to fulfill the plan of salvation through the atonement and resurrection and give all the glory to God. Heavenly Father chose Jehovah (Christ) to be the Savior.
Lucifer became angry that he was not chosen and declared war on God and Christ. One third of all of the spirits took Lucifer’s side. A battle followed and Lucifer and his followers were cast out of heaven. This even is referred to as the war in heaven by Mormons. After being cast out of heaven Lucifer became the devil or Satan. Lucifer and his followers were denied bodies. From this, Mormons understand that all who have been born, and all who will be born, chose to follow Heavenly Father’s plan and receive bodies.