When the child does turn back—and many of them will—they will begin to remember who they really are and resume their premortal work—the work of redemption--by gathering the living and the dead to Christ and disseminating the gospel blessings to them, much in the same way “the faithful…of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors…in the great world of the spirits of the dead.”[vi] The scriptural stories of the Apostle Paul, Alma and the Sons of Mosiah are given to us as universal models.
We must keep in mind that because our children were assigned to come forth in the last days, they are targets for the Adversary. We are clearly taught that children born in the Covenant in the last days have come to earth with the singular assignment to prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming. Therefore, our children, who are born or adopted into the lineage of Israel are “marked” for greatness because of their former greatness. President Ezra Taft Benson said,
In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—this is a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been so well organized. Now is the great day of the devil’s power. But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power…. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time: God has saved for the final inning some of His stronger and most valiant children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly.… You are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God….The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will win.[vii]
An Amazing Promise Waiting for Fulfillment
Clearly, to be purposely and divinely placed at this crucial time and place, each of our children had to have proven exceedingly righteous. Joseph Smith revealed, “There is a time appointed for every man, according as his works shall be.”[viii]
Paul explained that this “time appointed” would be especially true of the latter-day children of Israel; they would be specifically singled out and strategically placed because premortally they had “conformed to the image of [God’s] Son.”[ix]
Therefore, God took careful note of their potential to do good and deigned to position them in an era and circumstance that was best suited to their strengths and weaknesses. Elder Erastus Snow, explained that the premortal ministry of God’s “peculiar people,” destined them to assume important mortal callings in the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods:
For he has had his eye upon the chosen spirits that have come upon the earth in the various ages from the beginning of the world up to this time…The Lord has sent those noble spirits into the world to perform a special work, and appointed their times…and their future glory and exaltation is secured unto them; and that is what I understand by the doctrine of election spoken of by the Apostle Paul and other sacred writers: ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.’ Such were called and chosen and elected of God to perform a certain work at a certain time of the world's history and in due time he fitted them for that work.[x]
This is an amazing promise that should give parents of “elect” albeit wayward children cause to patiently persevere and hope that their children will yet remember who they are and rise to the stature of their premortal greatness.
The Noble and Great Ones
Pursuant to the perfect foreknowledge of God, our children were likely assigned family placement, birth time, location, and mortal opportunities according to their strengths and weaknesses. According to many sources, they were among the noble and great ones, who were shown to their forefather, Abraham.
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; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good.[xi]
Speaking of our children’s premortal nobleness and greatness, President Spencer W.Kimball said to the youth, “The prophets in this dispensation have taught us that special spirits were reserved to come forth at this time in this last dispensation. You are among those very special spirits!”[xii]
If you have a wayward child, this may be hard to believe. You might ask, “Was my troubled child included in the prophet’s declaration?” Yes! Speaking to the youth of the Church, Elder H. Burke Peterson said, “My dear friends, you are a royal generation. You were preserved to come to the earth in this time for a special purpose. Not just a few of you, but all of you.”[xiii]
The Noble and Great Ones will do the Work of Redemption
What was the premortal work that our children did so well that caused them to be distinguished above the majority of the hosts of heaven?
Redemption is not a work of God, it is the work of God, and therefore it is the preeminent work of all celestial beings—those who are or would be gods.