“Elected Before the Foundations of the World”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 89–90


Those who were foreordained to special callings in this life must remain true and faithful.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    Those who were faithful in the premortal life are called to receive special blessings in this life.

    1. 1.

      Each of God’s spirit children had the right of agency in the premortal life.

    2. 2.

      Because of obedience, certain individuals in the premortal life were called and elected to certain missions and blessings in this mortal life.

    3. 3.

      These blessings include baptism, priesthood, temple marriage, spiritual callings, and eternal life.

  • B.

    The reception of one’s foreordained blessings is dependent upon faithfulness to the gospel.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

Romans 9-16

Course Manual

Chapter 41, “Elected Before the Foundations of the World”

Standard Works

Romans 11:1-5. What is the election of grace spoken of by Paul? (See item 41-1.)

Ephesians 1:1-6. To what have some of God’s children been chosen from the foundation of the world?

Abraham 3:22-24. What did the “elect” do in the premortal life that would cause them to be called to special missions in this life?

Alma 13:3. Why are some men privileged to bear the priesthood in this life?

Article of Faith 5. What is the “prophecy” by which men are called?

D&C 121:34-40. Can the “elect” be called and yet not chosen? Why?

Basic Library

Teachings, pp. 189, 321. What is the Lord’s doctrine of election?

Teachings, p. 365. What did the Prophet say about foreordination to spiritual callings?

Discourses, p. 55. Could Jesus have refused to fulfill his foreordained mission?

DS, 1:59-61. Were men foreordained to do evil?

A of F, pp. 189, 491. What is the relationship between foreordination and the foreknowledge of God?

Harold B. Lee in CR, Oct. 1973, pp. 6-7. What can we do to fulfill our foreordained callings?

Bruce R. McConkie in CR, Apr. 1974, pp. 100-104. What is the relationship between foreordination and election?

Additional Sources

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 216, 290. The doctrines of election and foreordination discussed.

Bruce R. McConkie, Instructor, Feb. 1969, p. 40. Are we foreordained to be exalted?

Media Suggestions

Cassette tapes

(Elder Bruce R. McConkie) The Law of Foreordination

(President Harold B. Lee). Foreordination

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)


  • predestination

  • (See DS, 3:286-87.)

  • foreordination

  • (See DS, 2:58-61.)

  • election

This could lead into a discussion of the references under the study resources.

The Doctrine of Election or Foreordination (Chalkboard Illustration)

The following diagram and questions may serve as a basis to elicit discussion on this doctrine:

we carry into mortality what were were before
  1. 1.

    Why were certain people born into the lineage of Israel?

  2. 2.

    To what experiences were those of Israel “elected” in pre-earth life to receive in this life? (To baptism, to join the Church, to receive the priesthood, to marry in the temple. See McConkie, Instructor, Feb. 1969, p. 40.)

  3. 3.

    What must we do to qualify for these promised blessings? (The teacher may wish to study the last interaction box in the course manual.)


The following two statements, or others of the teacher’s choosing, could be used to elicit student discussion

“The Lord has chosen a small number of choice spirits of sons and daughters out of all the creations of God, who are to inherit this earth; and the company of choice spirits have been kept in the spirit world for six thousand years to come forth in the last days, to stand in the flesh in the last Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, to organize the Kingdom of God upon the earth, to build it up and to defend it … and to receive the eternal and everlasting Priesthood.” (Wilford Woodruff in Our Lineage, Utah Genealogical Society Handbook, 1933, Lesson 1, p. 4.)

“… May I suggest that this Church is not idly named. We are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These are the latter days; this is the final dispensation of time, and the programs of the Church are all moving toward a sort of finalization or culmination. There is an urgency as never before about what needs to be done; and be sure of this, what needs to be done will be done on schedule, we hope by those initially foreordained to the task. But just as surely as night follows the day, if we choose not to accept our station, or if we grow weary along the way, placing less important things first, there will be substitutes raised to take our place, that the Lord’s time-plan and ultimate purposes will not be thwarted.

“Youth of Zion, stand up and be counted, have the courage of your convictions, and whatever you do, don’t allow someone else to be a substitute for you in the kingdom of your Heavenly Father.” (Robert L. Simpson, “Youth of Zion, Stand up, and Be Counted!” Improvement Era, Dec. 1963, p. 1101.)

Scripture Analysis

The teacher may choose to illustrate the principle of foreordination by using examples of prophets who have been foreordained:

Paul’s Teachings on “Election” (Scripture Analysis)

A discussion with thought-provoking questions on Romans 9-14 could be used to aid the students in understanding the doctrine of election. The following are but a few ideas that could be used during class or in a preclass assignment sheet:

Romans 9:1-4. What six things are those of Israel elected to receive? (See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:271-76.)

Romans 9:6-8. Do those who were called and elected to special blessings but who become “children of the flesh” receive those blessings?

Romans 9:9-12. Why was Jacob chosen over Esau?

Romans 9:13-21. Is God unrighteous because he favors some people over others, or is it a matter of what we have merited?

Romans 9:24-29. Who is foreordained to salvation?