What Is Foreordination?

The Lord told Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-5).

God also assured Abraham, “Thou was chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22-23).

Peter testified that Jesus “was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). The Greek word translated “foreordained” in that passage is proginosko (προγινώσκω), which means literally “to know beforehand.” (Pro means “before,” and ginosko means “to know.”)

The prophet Alma elaborated on this doctrine in his sermon to the people of Ammonihah.  Those who serve as priests, he said, were “called and prepared before the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God” (Alma 13:3).

Did this guarantee that they would be ordained priests in this life? No. They would first be left alone, given the opportunity to make decisions. Only after exercising faith and demonstrating that they would not harden their hearts would they be given those callings which they had been foreordained to receive (Alma 13:3-6).

President Spencer W. Kimball taught that we were all chosen to fulfill specific responsibilities in this life:

Remember, in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles! (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Women’s Fireside, 15 September 1979).

Today, I will remember that God has known me longer than I can remember, and that He selected me to perform specific callings and assignments before I was born. I will strive to live faithfully so that I can receive and act upon those opportunities to serve.

3 thoughts on “What Is Foreordination?

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  1. I was thinking about this talk from SWK a couple days ago and am so happy to see you referring to the foreordination of sisters! I love President Kimball’s quote later on in his talk…

    “Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.

    Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. Remember, it is as wrong to do things just to be seen of women as it is to do things to be seen of men. Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion.

    Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”


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