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Foreordination: An Invitation and a Promise

Foreordination is a doctrine that we cannot fully understand in this life, but learning what we can will empower us to have faith in God’s plan for us.

In Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s BYU address “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” he explains the importance of trying to understand the doctrine of foreordination. He defines foreordination as “a conditional bestowal of a role, a responsibility, or a blessing which, likewise, foresees but does not fix the outcome.” He assures us that we can find comfort through this precious doctrine, knowing that God has prepared or foreordained a plan for each of us, customized to our strengths and weaknesses.

"We are not dealing with guarantees from God but extra opportunities—and heavier responsibilities." —Neal A. Maxwell

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

Elder Maxwell asserts that while we cannot fully understand the doctrine of foreordination now, we can understand enough to realize “we are not dealing with guarantees from God but extra opportunities—and heavier responsibilities.” Foreordination is not what God has arbitrarily determined must happen in our lives. For example, prophets are called conditional on their faithfulness, and the promises we receive from God through personal revelation and priesthood blessings are also conditional. 

One of the most recognizable examples of foreordination for Church members is a patriarchal blessing. When we read our patriarchal blessings and seek further personal revelation, we are accessing what Elder Maxwell calls a “divine databank” of God’s knowledge. He has the past, present, and future before him simultaneously and will help us to make the right choices in this life.

Elder Maxwell teaches that if we strive to understand more about foreordination, “we will have a true perspective about ‘things as they really are,’ and we can see in them a great chance to contribute” to God’s work as we meet the challenges before us. It will be easier to rely on promptings from the Spirit and have faith that God is guiding us down our own individual paths.

To learn more about foreordination and God’s role in our earthly lives, read Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s full talk “Meeting the Challenges of Today.”

Source: BYU Speeches

Emma Hill, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Listen to or read President James E. Faust’s talk “Priesthood Blessings” to understand more about the significance of priesthood blessings in our lives.

Check out the Gospel Topics essay on “Patriarchal Blessings” to learn more about the personalized guidance we can receive from God through a patriarch.

Read Alma 13 in the Book of Mormon for a scriptural explanation of foreordination.

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One Comment

  1. I love this article so much! It came exactly at a time when I needed to hear it. As I enter the decade of my life where I make decisions that will affect the way the rest of my life pans out, it’s comforting to know that, as long as I remain faithful, the Lord will always guide me towards his divine plan. What a blessing that is!

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