Welcome to Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints, Episode 1! This week’s episode is about the pre-earth life.
You can check out all of the episodes here.
Tween Talk Episode #1
Here are the places you can listen to episode 1 of Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints:
Here is this week’s adult coloring page for you to work on while you listen to the podcast.
Resources for Tween Talk 1
Here are the different resources discussed in the podcast.
Intelligences before we were born: Abraham 3:19, 22
Lucifer/Satan had authority in heaven: D&C 76:25
Flow chart example:
Tween Talk 1 Transcript
Have you ever wondered what life was like before we were born? Hello, everyone! Welcome to the very first episode of the podcast Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints.
My name is Tiffany Thomas, and I’m here to help guide you tweens through gospel topics in a way that makes sense to you.
Before we begin, let me tell you a little about myself since it’s the first podcast. I’m a mom of three, I have Crohn’s disease, and I used to be a middle school math teacher.
I’ll let y’all digest that for a few seconds. Yep, middle school math.
Luckily for you, this podcast is not going to be about math.
It’s going to be about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, before you roll your eyes at me and think you get enough of this at church, lemme explain.
This is NOT a lecture.
This is not a boring Sunday School lesson where the teacher just talks and talks at you.
This is not where I tell you how you’re supposed to behave or all the rules and commandments.
This is not me telling you that you’re messing up, or that your friends and other kids at school are wrong or bad.
Instead, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ for YOU, a tween or teen who wants to do the right thing, but feels like it’s hard.
People tell you to read your scriptures, say your prayers, and go to church, but you aren’t sure why or what good it even does.
This is for those of you who have a lot of questions, but the answers you get are things like “because the prophet said so” or “that’s just what the commandments say to do.”
This is for those of you who want to do the right thing, but you’re not sure if it’s really worth it because you’ll get teased or feel alone or even bullied.
Maybe you’re one of the many, many kids out there who feels alone. Or forgotten. Or unloved. Or a failure.
Maybe you feel like you try so hard, but you can’t seem to do anything right.
You hear things like “you are a child of God” or “you can turn to Christ in the hard times,” but you don’t even know what that means.
And you’re embarrassed to ask, because you feel like you’re the only one at church who seems to just not get it.
Or all the other supposed “good kids” aren’t following what they’re supposed to, so how can any of this be true or right?
It seems like others do things that aren’t right, and they seem so much happier than you. And that makes you question everything.
Does any of this sound like you?
If so, then you are not alone! You’re one of the hundreds of thousands of tweens and teens out there with the same questions.
And I want to help answer those for you, but without lecturing you or giving you a trite answer that you’d hear in Sunday School or Primary because there isn’t enough time.
So to do that, we’re going to start in the beginning. Like, the very, very beginning – before you were born, before there was an earth. Way, way, way in the beginning.
But before we get started, I want you to get some colored pencils and a paper. You have my permission to draw or doodle or whatever you want while you listen to this.
If you want, I’ve got a free printable adult coloring page on my website! Just go to __ and click on Episode 1 – In the Beginning.
But seriously, pause the podcast and get something to keep your hands busy as you listen!
Okay, great, you’re back. As you may have seen on the website, there’s also a YouTube video of this podcast. Basically it’s me – talking. And you’ll get to see first-hand that I am not a perfect person. I’m not wearing makeup and I’m making this in the closet (because it’s the only quiet place in my house – I’m sure many of you can relate) with a blanket behind me to hide the mess.
Surprise! I’m not perfect. And neither are you. And you know what?
That’s actually the whole point.
Okay, so back to the beginning. All the way back. Billions and billions of years ago. In fact, an eternity ago!
We don’t know a whole lot about this time, but some of what we do know comes from Abraham 3. Verse 22 and verse 19. And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; Okay, so these intelligences – that’s us.
We lived with God as spirits. Now, I know you know this. Who else was there? Everyone. Everyone who has ever lived or will ever live.
The Savior. Lucifer. Doctrine and Covenants 76:25 tells us that Lucifer was an angel who was an authority.
Now, we all have a bit of an idea of what happened, right? We learn in Primary that we choose God’s plan to follow Christ, and Satan and his plan and his followers were cast out.
Oh, but guys, it is SO much more than that. SO much more.
And that’s what I want to talk about today.
We’re going to imagine just what it might have been like in the premortal life with Heavenly Father.
We were intelligences, and we were all at different levels. And what do you think Heavenly Father wanted for us, more than anything?
He wanted us to be able to grow and develop and become like Him. He has all-power, and He has all-happiness, too.
Did you know that Heavenly Father was once a person, like you and me?
President Lorenzo Snow taught, “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.”
He said that he heard this from Joseph Smith, Sr. Joseph Smith, Jr. confirmed this to him in private, and then the following year he publicly taught, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.”
So Heavenly Father looked at us, and He wanted us to be like Him. He wanted us give us all of His power and His happiness, for eternal growth and peace.
Isn’t that amazing?
But we weren’t ready for that. You know how in Spiderman, Uncle Ben says, “With great power, comes great responsibility”?
How many people in the comics and the movies gained powers and used them for evil?
Now, I know Dr. Doom and Loki aren’t real.
But think of the mean kid at school. What would they be like if they suddenly had the powers of God?
Or what if Hitler did?
Do you get what I’m saying?
We were with Heavenly Father, but we were all spirits at different levels, just like it says in Abraham!
The strengths we have now, our talents? Those were our strengths back then, too. Some of us might be really good at having courage and sharing our testimonies. Others of us are naturally kind and helpful to others.
But our weaknesses now were weaknesses then as well. Sometimes we’re selfish. Sometimes we’re afraid. And you know what? We felt those things back then, too.
Heavenly Father knew He couldn’t give just anyone His power. We needed to show that we could align our desires, our wills, with His perfect ones. That we would follow His laws and rules when we were given them.
Basically, He needed to know He could trust us.
So we began to work on that. He started to teach us things. Not just gospel things, but probably some science and math. After all, we would need to know how to create a frog! That’s a lot of biology and math just in one little animal! Or how about a blade of grass growing in the sun and converting oxygen?
Along the way, we probably began to learn a lot of God-like characteristics. Like patience. We probably messed up the first time we tried understand the biology behind a frog.
So over the thousands of years that we were with God, learning all of these things, there was One spirit who progressed far beyond the rest of us.
That was Jesus.
He was the first spirit, the oldest of all of us spirit siblings. He also was the only one of us to progress all the way to Godhood.
And after thousands of years, it was clear that the rest of us weren’t quite there yet. We needed some extra training and testing, and that wouldn’t happen in Heavenly Father’s presence.
So He gave us His plan: the Plan of Happiness, or the Plan of Salvation. He would create an earth where we could go learn more. We would get real-world experience (pardon the pun).
It’s like someone telling you how to ride a bike using words and demonstrating it themselves, but then going out and actually getting on the bike. It’s really different! It’s a lot harder, but without actually getting on the bike you’ll never truly learn how to ride.
We loved the idea! We shouted for joy at the thought of getting bodies like our Heavenly Father, and we were eager to prove ourselves.
I know most of you have heard this before – the premortal life, right? But have you ever thought about how it looked, planning our lives?
I mean, we still have agency. Heavenly Father didn’t just hand us a mission call and say, “This is what your life is going to be like!”
I think we planned most of our lives. After all, who knows us better than ourselves?
But our lives required planning. And since agency would be a thing, we had to figure out all of the possible options and scenarios.
Let’s think of it like this.
Have you ever seen those flow chart questionnaires used to help make decisions? Here’s an example: Am I a crazy cat person? (You can see this up on my website for this week’s podcast if you need the visual. Savingtalents.com/podcast)
Let’s see, do you do any crafting with cat hair? If yes, follow this arrow to the next question. If no, follow the other arrow to that question.
We’re going to say no. That arrow leads us to the question, “Does your Facebook feed have lots of cat pictures in it?” Then your answer to that question leads you to other questions, and those answers lead to other questions.
Now, I think planning our lives were something like that. We knew ourselves. We knew our weaknesses and strengths, so we knew the kinds of situations we would need to encounter in order to get extra practice on our weaknesses.
So we made these giant flow charts about our lives. Each situation is its own box, and each arrow is how we responded to the situation. For example, a kid bullies you at school. One arrow is says, “Ignore it and walk away.” The other arrow says, “Punch the kid.”
We probably spent hundreds of thousands of years working on these charts. We consulted with each other, and we probably sat one-on-one with Jesus and Heavenly Father. Remember, Heavenly Father has done this before! So He could give us ideas and tell us what we needed to do.
As we worked on these flowcharts, we consulted others. We had friends, people we knew we wanted to go on our journey with us. We chose our families. We may have needed an older brother or a younger sister, or perhaps have a child with special needs.
All of our charts were different. They were huge, with billions of questions and arrows. Nothing was too small for us, or for Heavenly Father, to plan out.
There were leaders to help us out. Adam, who is also the archangel Michael, was one of them. All of the noble and great ones mentioned in those verses, think of them as supervisors. They worked on their own, but they also helped us with ours.
But as we worked on them, we began to notice how impossible it all was. We knew, according to justice, that only perfect people would be able to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, to return to live with Heavenly Father.
But after looking at those billions of arrows, some of us became frightened. What if we failed? What if we couldn’t do it?
So Heavenly Father told us the key part of His plan: Jesus would come to earth and live His life perfectly. He would follow His flow chart without any sins, always choosing the correct arrows. Then He could pay the punishment for our sins, the Atonement, and He could choose to forgive us. We’ll go more into the Atonement in a later podcast, but for now we’ll leave it at that.
We loved that idea! We could repent and be forgiven of our sins! So even if we went down the wrong arrows, suddenly there were arrows that said, “Choose to repent,” and it would lead us back to the correct path on our charts.
But some were still scared. What if they didn’t make the choices to repent? What if we just kept going down the wrong path? What if the Savior messed up?
And that’s where Satan came in. Back then, he was Lucifer. And he was one of those leaders. He was probably one of the highest in the hierarchy. And you know what his weaknesses were? Jealousy and greed.
He was jealous that Jesus had attained Godhood already. He was greedy and wanted us to worship him, not Jesus. He was power-hungry.
So he started whispering to us, telling us that we were all doomed to fail. But if he came as a Savior, he would FORCE us to choose the right path. We wouldn’t have any other arrows except for one.
We would all be saved!
But what’s the problem with that plan? Would it work?
Not really. The whole point of this life is to show God we can be trusted with His powers. If we’re forced to make right choices, then are we really proving ourselves trustworthy?
No, we’re not.
But Lucifer was smooth and charismatic. And many of us were scared and weak. So there was a battle in heaven. Not a battle with swords, but a battle of words and testimony.
We saw so many of our brothers and sisters filled with fear and wanting to convince Heavenly Father to change to Lucifer. So we fought back. We bore powerful testimony in our trust in Heavenly Father and our faith in Jesus.
But it wasn’t all black and white. Remember, we were all on different levels. Some people probably just sat back and watched. Some simply just didn’t rebel because they knew Heavenly Father was more powerful and Lucifer wouldn’t win, but they didn’t necessarily fight for Heavenly Father’s plan, either. Many probably wavered back and forth.
In the end, however, the rebellious were cast out, along with Lucifer, who became Satan, or the devil. And their anger at not being given their way made them spiteful. So they vowed to do all they could to prevent us from following our flow charts.
Now, we don’t remember those charts. That would defeat the purpose! We would know the choices to make each time. And that knowledge would mean we were held more accountable when we messed up. So there is a veil of forgetfulness over us.
But Heavenly Father didn’t leave us alone. Just like when a kid gets on a bike for the first time, the parent doesn’t just walk away. They run alongside, shouting encouragement and giving directions.
That’s what the Holy Ghost does. That’s what the scriptures and the prophets are for. They are here to tell us what the commandments are and what Jesus expects of us to do in order for us to be forgiven of our sins.
Remember, the whole point is prove ourselves trustworthy, to show Heavenly Father that we desire to be righteous more than anything, so we can be like Him.
Do you see why understanding the premortal life is important?
This changes everything!
When we know where we came from, what happened there, and the purpose of this life, it makes all the difference.
We don’t remember those charts, but we made them. Or something like them, at least.
Heavenly Father allowed us to take an active role in planning our lives. Then right before we came down here, we probably sat on his lap (because we are His children after all, and we were like little children – honestly, we still are in a lot of ways!).
We were probably excited and nervous. He probably hugged us and told us He was proud of us for making this choice. We promised Him we would do our very best to make Him proud of us.
And then we were born.
Here you are.
Being here is proof that you chose Jesus over Lucifer. You chose to believe Heavenly Father and trust that Jesus wouldn’t mess up, that He wouldn’t make one tiny sin that would keep ALL of us from making it back.
And your goal is to prove to Heavenly Father that you can be trusted to put His will over your own.
That you are willing to sacrifice and do what it takes to follow Him.
You may not understand the reason behind every commandment. That’s okay. You’re learning. Hey, even I’m learning.
I don’t know the reason for everything. But I do know that this church is led by a prophet who speaks for Heavenly Father. And I do believe in the Plan of Salvation.
We can do it. We can make it back to Heavenly Father. We can show Him we were faithful. We can tell Him on judgment day that we tried our hardest to do His will. And when we messed up, we repented and got back on our path and kept going, doing our best to make the right choice every time.
I know you can do it.
I want to challenge you this week to think about the premortal life. It may not be exactly like I’ve described in this podcast, but I think it’s pretty close. We had an active role in planning our lives, and we vowed to prove ourselves trustworthy.
With the Savior’s help, I know we can do it.
We’ll talk more about the Savior’s part and the Atonement next time.
Until then, go pray about this. Go ask Heavenly Father to help you understand.
Until next time, I’m Tiffany Thomas, and this is Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints.