Developing Talents and Abilities
“Being subject to law, and having their agency, all the spirits of men, while yet in the Eternal Presence, developed aptitudes, talents, capacities, and abilities of every sort, kind, and degree. During the long expanse of life which then was, an infinite variety of talents and abilities came into being. As the ages rolled, no two spirits remained alike. Mozart became a musician; Einstein centered his interest in mathematics; Michelangelo turned his attention to painting…. Mary and Eve were two of the greatest of all the spirit daughters of the Father. The whole house of Israel, known and segregated out from their fellows, was inclined toward spiritual things. And so it went through all the hosts of heaven, each individual developing such talents and abilities as his soul desired.” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, 1:23)
“The spirits of men were created with different dispositions and likes and talents. Some evidently were mechanically inclined, from them have come our inventors. Some loved music and hence they have become great musicians. We evidently brought to this world some if not all of the inclinations and talents we had there. The fact that one person finds one bent, like mathematics easy and another finds it difficult, may, in my judgment, be traced to the spirit existence. So with other talents and skills. It was these characteristics that enabled our Eternal Father to choose certain individuals for certain work on the earth, such as Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph Smith…. It is my judgment that thousands of others were chosen for their special fields because they showed talents and dispositions in that spirit world.” (President Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Quesitons, 5:138-139)
“When we rejoice in beautiful scenery, great art, and great music, it is but the flexing of instincts acquired in another place and another time.” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1984, p.21)
“I Know – Again”
“I know some of those precious and personal moments of deep discovery, there will be a sudden surge of recognition of an immortal insight, a doctrinal deja vu. We will sometimes experience a flash from the mirror of memory that beckons us forward toward a far horizon…. And when of great truths we can come to say ‘I know,”\’ that powerful spiritual witness may also carry with it the sense of our having known before. With rediscovery, what we are really saying is ‘I know – again!’ No wonder that, so often, real teaching is mere reminding.” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” p.156)
“The Spirits of men were not equal. They may have had an equal start (see Alma 13:5-7), and we know they were all innocent in the beginning (D&C 93:38); but the right of free agency which was given to them enabled some to outstrip others, and thus, through the eons of mortal existence, to become more intelligent, more faithful, for they were free to act for themselves, to think for themselves, to receive the truth or rebel against it.” (President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:58-59).
The War in Heaven
“Following the pre-existent choosing of Christ and the rejecting of Lucifer to be the Redeemer in the great plan of salvation, Satan and one-third of the spirit hosts destined for life on this earth came out in open rebellion against the Father. The rebels ‘sought to destroy the agency of man’ and to modify the Father’s plan so that salvation would come automatically to all who passed through mortality. Their rebellion against light and truth and their refusal to subscribe to the terms and condition laid down by the Father whereby salvation might be gained is called by John the war in heaven.
“The same inspired writer then goes on to explain that after Satan was cast out onto the earth he was given power ‘to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them.’ The warfare with the Saints on earth is a continuation of the war in heaven. It is a war between truth and error, between light and darkness, between the Church of the Lamb and the apostate sects of the world, between Christ and Satan. Those who followed Lucifer in pre-existence were the spirits who chose to believe false doctrines about how to gain salvation; those who believe in false systems of salvation in this life, in like manner, are permitting themselves to be overcome by Satan in the war on earth.
“There were, of course, no neutral spirits in the war in heaven, any more than there are or can be neutrals in this life…” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 828)