Thursday, July 11, 2013

We Lived Before Birth

The Confessions of Saint Augustine contains a short, almost forgotten passage that contains his wonderings about the origin of the human being.  He traces his existence past his infancy, through his birth, in his mother's womb and then puzzles for a moment about whether he might have even existed in some way before that time.  He asks that one not laugh at his question and seems somewhat embarrassed for his thoughts in that respect.  

My friends, I know for a certain fact that we did indeed live before we were born.  You, me, and every person that has ever lived on this earth existed before the shadow of shallow mortal life darkened our memories.  It is a fundamental truth that I have always instinctively known.  Though I might, I will not seek to back this claim with academic argument or scriptural quotations but rather through the single, weak testimony of this one person who knows and has always known that it is true.  Our souls come from a place far more glorious than our mortal minds can recall and in a state in which we utilized intelligence, creativity and individualism to bring to pass beautiful things.

How can I know this?  True it is that Mormonism teaches this concept but I knew it long before I learned it in a formal manner.  For many years in my infancy and young childhood I knew it with such force and passion that it seemed to me agonized drudgery that I should have to stay for the moment in this temporary life.  It has been more self evident to me than my existence on this earth and I used to literally weep into my pillow from a homesickness for something I had long known and loved but which I could not in definite detail recall.  Perhaps an echo of that past age still rings in my soul loudly enough to recognize the fact that we are glorious spiritual beings, capable of greater things than this world can understand.  Sit quietly and listen with your heart.  Perhaps it still rings in yours.

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