271.2: Pre-Existence and Book of Abraham (OT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 2, Sunday School)

“Thou Wast Chosen Before Thou Wast Born”

The Book of Abraham commands fascination, with its theological distinctiveness (plurality of gods and teaching about the pre-existence) and connections to the Egyptian papyri. Not everyone may be aware that many struggle with this book of scripture, however. This episode digs deeply into the value of the Book of Abraham theologically, focusing on teachings about the pre-existence and foreordination. We also explore the implications of the relationship between scripture and history.

Class Reading:Abraham 3; D&C 138; Moses 4:1–4

Additional Reading: Isaiah 14:12–15; Revelation 12:7–9; Alma 13:3–5; D&C 29:36–39

Other Reading: None

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The discussion with David, Joshua and Maxine at times gets technical and runs long, but is worth the time and effort.

You can access the Annotated Reading here.

You can access my Lesson Notes here.


Episode Outline

Lesson Part 1

0:00            Intro

6:17            Stars, Intelligences, Plan of Salvation

18:22         Foreordination


Discussion Part 1

24:23         Introductions

26:10         Pre-Existence

42:07         Foreordination

55:03         Plural Gods

1:08:04      Book of Abraham: Source Papyri

1:14:34      Abraham 3

1:34:23      Closing Theological Thoughts

Recommended Resources

Also consult his very worthwhile extra resources:

  • Charles Harrel, “The Development of the Doctrine of Preexistence, 1830–1844″ BYU Studies 28:2 PDF.
  • Teryl and Fiona Givens, The God Who Weeps, chapter 2, is all about the premortal existence. It’s an excellent book. See Rosalynde Welch’s review here, Julie Smith’s review here, and Adam Miller’s semi philosophical discussion of chapter 2 here.

Thanks to James Estrada for going above and beyond to get this episode out in time, and to to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music. Thanks to Trent Oliphant for updating the episode.

Latest Comments

  1. Carl Gordon Pyper says:

    YES! What is the IMPACT of scripture in MY life … beginning with my MIND?

    “Agency used well” equals superiority of one’s spirit (vs “higher IQ). This is a very freeing concept.

    “ELOHIM” Plural word … as in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Where’s the female; Holy Ghost?

    Thanks for your take on the Book of Abraham … No papyri. Ginned up out of the mind (“inspired” or imagined) of JSJr. I agree that it’s the message that should attract the contemplative’s attention vs when it came from.

    God creating the world, universe, etc., etc. out of preexisting materials??!! And where did all those pre-existing materials come from??!! JSJr creating the BofA out of pre-existing info as a parallel to God “organizing” the physical world … off the rails on this one!! How about the concept of physical matter (atoms) coming into existence upon OBSERVATION … or imaginings of the Mind?


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