Premortal life, a spiritual life before this mortal life is core to the LDS faith. There are some other religions who this that we were only created to praise God. That He made us instantaneously at birth to do this.
I came across this written essay by JF McConkie titled “ Premortal Existence, Foreordinations, and Heavenly Councils“. He is the son of a former apostle and a scriptorian. I’ve been recently very interested in the concept of God’s planning of the world and placement of each person and their purpose. This talk speaks to the former.
He interestingly quote from the Acts of Thomas, an apocryphal work with a really interesting parable that an LDS member would appriciate.
THE ALLEGORY OF THE PEARL
The various threads at which we have looked to this point are perhaps best woven into a single tapestry in the Syriac Hymn of the Pearl, which has been preserved for us in a work entitled the Acts of Thomas. This is an allegory of a king’s son who is required to leave his father’s kingdom, where he enjoyed great wealth, to obtain a pearl. The pearl, quite obviously, is a symbol of his own soul. His parents see that he is properly provisioned for his journey. Before leaving their presence he is required to surrender his splendid robe. This robe, or garment of light, we are told, had been woven to the measure of his stature. He also enters into a covenant with them to obtain the pearl and return that he might once again enjoy their presence and wear his splendid robe. The covenant is written upon his heart.
Though the way is hazardous and difficult, an intimate friend referred to as “an (anointed one)” warns him of the dangers that beset him. Notwithstanding all this he soon forgets his identity as a king’s son and his mission to obtain the pearl. At this point a council is held; it is attended by his father, his mother, his brother (the crown prince), and many other great and mighty ones. They determine to send him a letter imploring him to awake and remember who he is and what king he serves. He is encouraged to remember his splendid robe and to so conduct himself that his name might be written in the book of heroes, and that with his brother he may be an heir to his father’s kingdom.
Thus reminded, he commences again his efforts to obtain the pearl, which he must wrestle from a terrible serpent. This he is able to do only by naming his father’s name, that of his brother, and that of his mother. Having obtained the pearl he flees Egypt, sheds his dirty and unclean garments, and is further guided by the letter. At this point he is greeted by messengers from his parents, who clothe him once more in his royal robe, and he returns as an heir to his father’s kingdom. As introduced in Edgar Hennecke’s New Testament Apocrypha, this story is described as a “fabulous narrative: of a Gnostic Redeemer myth in which to be sure nothing points to a Christian origin.”
Interesting idea. Particularly in light of a “patriarchal blessing” LDS members receive.