The origin of Man

“I Have a Feeling That I Lived Before I Was Born”

By Larry M. Arnoldsen

     My last day on a six weeks job before retuning to college, I worked with Ned, an older man I had not worked with before.
We spent the day making deliveries around the city, and at the end of the day, very tired, we rode in silence back to the plant.
    Finally Ned looked over at me and said: “I feel I should tell you something. I continue to have a feeling that I lived before I was born. I smiled, and he continued: “Now, there you go, laughing at me like everyone else.”
    “I’m not laughing at you.”
    “Well, you’re smiling.”
    “I am smiling because you are correct.”
    “How do you know that?” Ned asked. “I’ve told that to quite a number of clergymen, and they all tell me there is nothing to such a feeling.”
    “When you go home, read the first chapter of Jeremiah,” I told him, recalling the words of the Lord to the Old Testament prophet: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee” (Jer. 1:5).
    By this time we had arrived back at the plant, so we talked no further. I went home, had supper, and decided to go to a movie. I drove around town until I saw one I thought would be good and went in.
    During the intermission I went into the lobby to get some refreshments. There was Ned, with his wife. They came over to me, and he said, “I want you to meet my wife, Belle.” Then he explained to her that I was the fellow he had been talking about. He looked at me and said, “We want to go to church with you next Sunday. You do go to church, don’t you?”
    I assured him I did, and he asked me which church I attended.
    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the Mormon Church,” I replied. He had heard of it, he said. I went on to explain that the coming Sunday was a special meeting called stake conference.
    “That’s all right; we want to go with you.”
    On Sunday we arrived early enough to sit only a few rows back from the podium. Seated on the stand was Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When he stood to speak, he seemed to look directly at us and said, “Today I wish to speak to you on the topic  "We are of the Race of the Gods,” and he proceeded to speak about the premortal existence.
    After conference my friends indicated they would like to meet Elder Petersen. I saw a friend of mine, a former stake president who, I thought, might know Elder Petersen and be willing to make the introductions. He was delighted to introduce these first-time visitors to our church to a General Authority.
    Later, as we drove home, I asked what they thought of the meeting.
    “That man is a prophet,” replied Belle.
    “What?” I said.
    “When he took my hand a feeling went up my arm almost like electricity, and in my mind I thought, This man is a prophet!” 
    “I had a similar experience,”  Ned said.  -------------------------
     
    Larry M. Arnoldsen is representing the Kennedy Center of Brigham Young University as a visiting professor at Shandong Teachers’ University in Jinan, China.  ---see "Ensign", October 1998, page 60.