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 to become like our Heavenly Father, and we were anxious to receive a physical body and to enter a time of testing.
So Heavenly Father called a great council. We went to a meeting of the spirit children of God. 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 be given a physical body. We were so excited at this chance to progress that we shouted for joy and sang praises to Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father said we would have our agency, the freedom to choose what we would do. He knew that we would become better, happier people by using our agency to choose the right, but agency meant that we would also have the ability to choose the wrong. To help us choose right, he would teach us the gospel so that we would know how we should live.
Heavenly Father told us that after we were born on the earth, we would not remember our life in heaven. Earth life was to be a test to see if we would choose good or evil. We would need to use faith and learn how to trust in God without being able to see him. Heavenly Father knew this test would make us stronger. He knew from his own experiences that choosing the right is sometimes very hard, but he also knew that we could not progress and become like him unless we were tested on the earth. He knew that some of us would choose evil and would not be able to return to him. This made him very sad, for Heavenly Father loves each of his children.
Because Heavenly Father knew we would all make mistakes, he explained that we would need a savior to atone for our sins so that we could repent and receive forgiveness. One of the spirits among us was like God. He offered to serve Heavenly Father and all the spirit children by being the Savior. 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 to Heavenly Father, “Thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”
Then Lucifer, another of God’s spirit sons, said “Behold, here am I; send me. I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”
Lucifer rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan and wanted to force 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. We would all have been like puppets with Lucifer controlling us. We would never have learned to be the best people we could be, and we wouldn’t have been able to become like Heavenly Father.
Some of God’s children liked Lucifer’s idea. One third of all the spirits decided to follow Lucifer.
Heavenly Father knew that Lucifer’s idea could not work and that Lucifer was being greedy and rebellious, so Jesus was chosen as the Savior and Lucifer was rejected. As a result, Lucifer became very angry. He and his followers still refused to accept Heavenly Father’s plan. They argued and quarreled with those who would not agree with them.
Heavenly Father loved these spirit children, but because they were rebellious and refused to obey, they were no longer worthy to remain with him. Because they had rejected the plan, they could not be born on the earth and receive physical bodies. The only thing that could be done was to cast them out of heaven.
Many of those who followed Heavenly Father were ordained to do special things on the earth. Of course, we would still have our agency; we would still need to choose whether or not we would do these things. Each of us also received special abilities, which we could increase by sharing them with others. Heavenly Father provided everything we would need to become like him.