Remembering the Pre-Existence

Many will probably find this post a bit beyond the parameters of my normal style and subject matter, but I have been wanting to write on this for some time now.  The purpose of this post is to introduce you to a book called The Soul’s Remembrance: Earth is not our Home (Seattle: Onjinjinkta, 1999), by Roy Mills. This is, believe it or not, a book about a man who can remember his life in Heaven before he was born. Roy Mills is not LDS, but is a Southern Baptist from Georgia. However, when my father (who is quite an expert in Near Death Experiences and related matters) gave me this book, I was amazed to find the author speaking very naturally about a pre-mortal life, claiming that his mission here on Earth was to not have a veil of forgetfulness so that he could teach people about our heavenly origins.

When I first picked up this book, I had some reservations–However, as I read the book, I felt a certain sincerity that caused me to set some of those doubts aside.  So I will let you decide whether you believe Mills or not. I will present here some highlights from this most intriguing book.

In The Soul’s Remembrance, Roy Mills tells the story of his life, which he remembers beginning well before he was born on this Earth. He tells of living in Heaven and of being put through a school, of sorts, to teach and train him about how life would be here. He tells of the angelic guides and teachers that helped him learn, and of the other relationships that he had in Heaven before his mortal life. He tells of heavenly gardens, of recognizing the intelligence that even the flowers had, and of seeing the prayers of mortals reaching heaven as beams of powerful energy. Among the most amazing recollections that Mills recounts are his interactions with both Jesus and God the Father, whom he often terms “the Spirit Father.” He remembers receiving a mission to perform here on Earth, coming down to this sphere, and even having his spirit placed within his physical body inside his mother’s womb. As he grew older, he continued to have contact with familiar angelic beings that he knew from Heaven, although as he “became more earth-bound” in his thinking, he began to forget some of what he knew from Heaven. In April of 1995, his angel guide once again appeared to him, and the memories of his heavenly home flooded back into his mind. This angel, whom he knew so well, told him that the time had come to share his recollections of Heaven and that he should write a book.

Mills begins by describing Heaven and his first memories of being “in-training” to come to Earth. He recounts:

The first of my soul’s remembrances is of being in a place of very bright, white light. Even the people and angels there glowed with the same pure light. In fact, everything in Heaven radiated light. It is impossible to accurately describe heavenly things with earthly language, because there just aren’t words to describe them. All I can say is that Heaven was the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

I didn’t experience any physical sensations like we do on earth. I was never hot or cold or hungry, and I didn’t feel any pain. In Heaven we had spiritual bodies, like the Bible describes, instead of physical bodies. But I did experience many of the same emotions we have in this life: excitement, joy, caring, compassion, and, most of all, love. There was always a lot of love everywhere…

Before birth into mortality, I saw that we were young spirits–much like children–and we needed to learn and develop in order to prepare for life on earth… I can’t say how long it lasted–if it was months or years–because there was no day or night and no way to track time like we do on earth…

The building where I received my prebirth education had a lot of rooms, and each one was for teaching me a specific thing. For example, one room was used to introduce me to people who would play an important role in my earthly life, another room was where I selected certain life experiences and was taught about them…And I had several angel guides during my schooling to assist me in my training and education, but one particular guide stayed with me longer than the rest…(pp. 6-8)

This particular angelic guide was his principal teacher and was the same being who appeared to him in 1995. Mills believes that we all have this type of guardian angel assigned to watch over each of us. On the idea that spirits begin young and eventually grow to maturity, see the current manual, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 14, subtitle “Parents who lose children in death will receive them in the resurrection just as they laid them down,” pages 176-178.

One of the most important tools used for his pre-Earth training was the Life Book. He describes the nature of these books and how they worked.

I wasn’t sure what the Life Books were, but when I entered the room where I was to learn about them, they were impossible to miss. A heavenly light shown in the room, flowing from every corner, even from the Life Book itself. The book was very large and thick, as big as a small suitcase. It had an ornate cover and sat on a table about five feet tall. Just looking at it, my excitement grew. I sensed the importance of the Life Book and how special it would be to my training.

The angels were always careful not to let me or anyone else touch the book. When one of the angels spoke, the book opened by itself to reveal pure white pages. In an excited voice, my instructor asked me what I saw. I replied that I did not see anything except blank pages.  He told me to stare into them and concentrate. I did as he said, and watched in amazement as the book revealed events that would happen in my earthly life. Each page showed me one part of my life, much like a television, and then the page turned by itself (pp. 9-10).

Mills was shown, in detail, many of the things that would happen to him in his mortal life: what his body would look like, who his mother would be, his schooling, his marriage, and other experiences. At one point he asked his angel guide if he would eventually return to Heaven.  She replied that it was up to him, and that that was what free will was all about. When he asked about free will, she replied:

It is each person’s right to choose to do good or bad when they are on earth…To love or not to love, to help others or not to help others, to believe in God or not to believe in Him, to live in the light or live in the darkness (p. 12).

Mills goes on to tell of the end of his training and the “Exit Room” or “Holding Room” that spirits enter as they are being transported to Earth. He can actually remember being led by an angel to where his mother lived and then being “pushed” into his infant body inside his mother’s womb. He recounts how it was difficult getting used to being in a mortal body, how quickly his mortal mind absorbed his spirit’s knowledge, and how he struggled to make his spirit and body work as one.  Compared to the free movement of the spirit existence, being in a body felt like “wearing a jacket made of lead” (p. 28). He goes on to tell of how he was frequently visited by angelic beings as a baby, comforting him and helping him accustom to his new Earth life.

One of the greatest points that Mills emphasizes throughout his story is that our trials in this life have a purpose and that God is always willing to help us overcome them. He tells of how he was given the opportunity to choose which trials he would have in life, and shown the blessings that he would receive for enduring them well. Each challenge we go through in life helps build our faith and allows us to use the spiritual gifts given to us in Heaven.  Our trials were chosen by us and approved by God to fit our specific mission in life. He explains:

Our physical bodies are only a temporary home for our spirits, and nothing can truly harm who we really are. So when I selected my earthly experiences, I had no concern for what they would do to my physical body. I knew that the more I suffered for others, or because of others, the more I would grow in spirit. And with that knowledge, I had a completely different perspective on adversity and the experiences I chose for my own life (p. 118).

The mightiest spirits are those who, like Jesus, chose to suffer the most.  It is important for us, says Mills, to never just accept the problems we face in life. In the spirit realm, we did not choose our trials in order to just live with them–we chose them in order to learn and grow by overcoming them. God did not let us choose any challenge that we would not be able to overcome, and has given us the tools and spiritual gifts necessary to do so. We need to learn to depend on God to help us overcome these trials.

While there is much more of interest in this little book (144 pgs.), I will conclude by giving the two most special and glorious recollections that Mills shares from his pre-mortal experience. In the first, Mills describes entering an immense room divided by a veil.

I saw two figures standing behind the sheer curtains. One was a large angel, and the other was a man with the kindest face I’ve ever seen. The room was filled with a golden tint, but the space all around the man glowed with a bright, pure white.  The light was radiating from him, and I had never seen anyone whose light was so pure and glowed so strongly. I entered the room, and the man looked at me, smiling.  A knowing passed between us, and I immediately knew that this was Jesus, my Savior (p. 111).

As the angel tried to show him something, Mills found that he could not draw his eyes away from Jesus. The other angel became rather upset that Mills was not listening, but Jesus showed only love. He tells of how Jesus then embraced him:

Then He did come closer, and He swooped me up in His arms like I was a child. Both Jesus and I were glowing brightly from the wonderful light of His love, and as He held me to his chest, I imagine I was the happiest spirit in Heaven that day. I held on tight, telling him how much I loved Him, and we talked and laughed and hugged each other over and over again (p. 113).

Home at Last by Danny Hahlbohm

At the conclusion of the book, Mills recalls the most wonderful experience that he can remember from his pre-Earth life. This event took place before his preparatory training began. He remembers being in a large and glorious room, which he soon realized was the Throne Room of the Father.

As I looked around, I saw that this section of the auditorium faced a large elevated platform that was several feet higher than the area where I was standing. A very large, pure white chair sat in the center of the raised floor, a few feet back from the edge.  The chair was simple in design, but very impressive. It glowed with a powerful, pure white light. It was then that I realized I was in the Throne Room, and that I was waiting in the area where the audience of souls was to stand before the Spirit Father…I was going to see the Father (p. 131)!

A great multitude of spirits was gathered there, waiting to receive their mortal life’s mission from God himself.

Once the audience of souls was assembled, an incredibly bright sphere of light appeared at one side of the throne area…[it] moved across the floor and came to rest on the glowing throne. Looking at the light was like seeing the sun from only a few yards away.  But it didn’t burn my eyes, though it was infinitely brighter than the noonday sun. It was the most brilliant, pure, and magnificent light I’ve ever seen. it was the source of all light in Heaven and elsewhere–the Spirit Father, God, Himself (p. 132).

A heavenly escort of a couple dozen high-ranking angelic beings accompanied the Father as He entered. They wore white, crimson, or blue robes trimmed with gold. Two special beings stood near the throne, shining with such glory that they appeared to Mills to be engulfed in flames. However, the brightest glory surrounded the Father, whose light was so bright that Mills could only see his forearms and the lower half of his legs and feet. Eventually, it was Mills turn to approach the Father and receive his personal mission (which would be a special mission to remember Heaven and share his memories with others). He was called by name and brought to the Throne in a ball of light. After he had received his mission, the Father allowed him to see into His glory and behold Him directly.

Then He allowed me to see into His light, and I saw Him, and he looked like a man. We are truly made in the image of our Creator.

His appearance was one of great wisdom and strength. He was powerful-looking and very tall–much taller than the average man. The robe He wore shone with a pure white light, and He wore no shoes. There was a neat fringe of white hair around his head, and a crown of light suspended above his head. His face was very kind and loving, yet strong and marked with authority.  As I stared at Him, I was filled with awe and humility, but I also felt safe and very loved (pp. 139-140).

Grand Council by Robert Barrett

Grand Council by Robert Barrett

The Father reviewed with him the difficulties his earth life would hold, but assured him that He would always be ready to help him and that he could always call on Him. He told him that Jesus died so that he could return to Heaven. This experience with the Father has helped Mills through all the difficult times of his life.

I recommend that you take at look at this unique book. As Latter-day Saints, we believe in, teach and wonder about our pre-mortal life with God in Heaven–but how often do you come across someone who can actually remember it? If what Mills has written is true, The Soul’s Remembrance is an amazing example of someone who can. And what’s more, this comes from a non-LDS source. In his closing thoughts, Mills declares:

God sent us here to learn love in a greater way and to share our love with everyone around us.  We must always remember that we are much, much more than our minds and our bodies, and that earth is definitely not our home. Thanks to my heavenly memories, I know that all of us are here for a reason. Life does have a purpose–and that purpose is love. Everything we think or say or do is important to our growth and the growth of every other spirit on earth (p. 143).

Note: The pictures included in this post are not taken from Mills’ book.

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  1. Posted July 30, 2008 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating, absolutely fascinating. Even the language he uses is incredibly close to ours.

    I found this interview of Roy Mills, for any who are interested.

  2. Posted July 31, 2008 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment and for the link!

  3. Posted August 10, 2008 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Reading this post initially had me greatly excited, but when I got a hold of the book yesterday I found myself underwhelmed. I am not sure I want to make a blanket statement it is all false ( I will give him some benefit of the doubt), but I am not at all convinced of its truth. Somethings, like his meeting (and kneeling before) the Virgin Mary, just rang false.

    That said, I am still excited to get a hold of some of Sarah Hinze’s work. That rings of much more truth, and likewise, has a greater number of witnesses!

  4. Posted August 11, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I appreciate your opinion and understand where you are coming from. As I stated in my post, I had some doubts after reading it myself. What helped me get past some of that was the consideration that perhaps some of the details he includes are embellishments of his own imagination when some of his memories were a bit fuzzy.
    On the Virgin Mary encounter–I admit that I found it a little exaggerated as well. But Mills is no Catholic and had no real motive to want to portray Mary in any special way. Think about it a bit–why wouldn’t Mary receive special attention in Heaven? She was the earthly mother of Jesus. I would expect that she is an exalted being with her own glory and throne–I would expect that any angel would show great respect and honor to her. I would think that if he had seen Adam and Eve or Abraham, etc., the angels would have shown the same respect for them.
    There are other details that I thought were questionable–but again, I think that he fills in some details that he can’t perfectly remember. However, most of the book is very much in accordance with what we, as Latter-day Saints, would imagine the pre-existence to be. That is the reason I wrote this post–I think we can overlook a few minor imperfections and see a powerful witness for the pre-existence in Mills’ account.

  5. Posted August 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we (I) are confusing inspiration with infallibility. While I don’t think everything there is correct, I must say, this has stimulated a lot of personal pondering on the pre-existance, and I had to admit to myself the other day, that the trials I am going through now just feel like the kind of thing I would have picked out for myself in some former life- knowing myself.

  6. Cindy Davis
    Posted August 17, 2008 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    When I read Roy’s book I was impressed by many things that are the same as in my memories of heaven. Still, there were some things I had a problem with, namely the angel with wings; in all of my memories of heaven I never saw any. I think you are correct, David, in that his memories might be fuzzy. One thing I am concerned about is that I know Satan can play with ones mind and try to discredit their testimony by having them state things that are incorrect. I want to also say here in defense of Roy and his intentions, this man feels very, very familiar to me; in a way that makes me suspect we were close in heaven. That said, I think an important point to be made in all of this pre-mortal talk is that as Sarah Hinze book title says, We Lived in Heaven…We are also a part of one another and should do our best to assist each other in returning from whence we came as we had promised to do.

  7. Lorraine
    Posted January 16, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I found your website this evening when looking for pictures of the pre-existence for Sharing Time in Primary. Thankyou SO much for bringing to the world’s attention Mr Mills’ insights and memories of the pre-existence! Until this evening I never knew, or indeed supposed, that anyone on earth had any recollection of our pre-earth life! With the posted comments in mind, I will purchase a copy of Mr Mills’ book (and Ms Hinze’s book as well), and read both with a great deal of interest. The excerpts quoted here on your website have only strengthened my testimony of what I’ve always known – that we lived in heaven before we came here, and we did indeed choose and agree to our trials in life, knowing we’d have the help of Heaven to help us overcome those trials. Thankyou again so much – Lorraine, South Australia

  8. Jen
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I read Roy’s book and I liked it a lot but I am sort of confused when he said “God did not let us choose any challenge that we would not be able to overcome”

    Some people have challenges that they cannot overcome, at least in this life. Such as severe disabilities i.e. mental retardation, cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome, or paralysis. As far as I know these are disabilities that people have their whole life so I am not exactly sure what challenges he means when he said there are none that we cannot overcome.

    • Nate
      Posted February 9, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      The scriptures do say that you don’t overcome all trials in this life. A disability like what you mentioned is something that will be overcome in the next life, when our bodies are made perfect.

  9. kh
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I found reading this very interesting indeed. But the question I have is, if Mr. Mills can remember so much of the pre-mortal existence where we know all were tuaght the same perfect Celestial doctrine and plan of Redemption, and the only organization that teaches these is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints, how is it that Mr. Mills hasn’t joined?

  10. David Larsen
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    KH, thanks for your comment. I don’t think I can really answer your question. That would be a choice that Mr. Mills would have to make for himself. He doesn’t ever say that he was told which church he should join during his life. Also, he doesn’t remember everything — most of his memories are things that have come back to him after he had forgotten many details since his childhood.

  11. Jen
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Hi. Do you know anything about what Roy has been doing lately? I have not recently heard anything about him. I would have loved to go to one of his speaking engagements but dont even know if he is speaking anymore.

  12. Karen
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    In response to Jen’s post on Jan 18: It has been my experience that overcoming a difficulty does not necessarily mean that we master it, are rid of it or delivered from it. It is often the case that just growing in faith and being willing still to turn to the Lord is the only overcoming I can do.

  13. Mark
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    I have Roy Mills book, and I’m one also blown away with quite a few things he mentioned that I also I remember.

    The Life Book being one of them, looking into it and seeing things pretaining to my upcoming life. I remember it being on a podium like table and gazing down into it. Like Roy had mentioned, you view things like a video, not written words. Also the Throne Room, being brought there by an Angel Guide, sitting anticipating your name being called, and then approaching the Throne to speak with God.

    For the ones comparing the Bible with these type of memories, maybe this question you should also ask, if you’re one like Roy and myself that remember Female Angels. Does the Bible mention any Angel that is Female? If the Bible fails to mention Female Angels, could it then be at all possible they exist? I think so, even if I did not remember Female Angels. Maybe you should keep that in mind when thinking about Roy’s account of how Mary appears to be like in heaven. Even myself, not being Catholic, I would reason she has some special recognition in heaven for having been Jesus’ mother on Earth.

    If the Mormons somehow and for some reason attained the teaching of a pre-existence, that fact doesn’t make me feel drawn to Mormonism in any way, even to look further into Mormonism to help undestand more about my memories. I think the Mormons have adopted and preserved a number of things of other religions/sects going way back (some things discarded or somehow forgotten over time), and the fact that some of those things might indeed be truth and is now in the hands of the Mormons, well, that doesn’t mean then that the Mormon Church is Christ’s one true Church (as they claim).

    I wish I remembered as much as Roy does. I remember as we approached the door of life here on earth, one of the questions I asked my Angel was, if I could bring my knowledge of heaven with me. She said in so many words, ‘you will not remember’, but I remember thinking to myself after that, well, I’m not going forget everything, and I held on to that thought as I crossed over through the doorway to this life. I think that was an act of God given freewill, and not a transgression on my part.

    • David Larsen
      Posted October 19, 2010 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment. I really think that’s amazing that some people, such as Roy Mills and yourself, can remember things from your pre-mortal life. That is absolutely fascinating!
      In answer to your question, the Bible does not mention any female angels. However, we Mormons believe that there are female angels just as there are male angels. Gender is the same in heaven as it is here. We believe that angels are just members of the human species that have either not been born yet or have passed on to the afterlife. We don’t believe that angels are some distinct, neuter class of their own that God created separately.
      Doesn’t the fact that no other Abrahamic religion (that I know of) professes to know anything about the pre-existence make you somewhat curious as to why the Mormons do? Also, doesn’t the fact that Mormons claim to have received this by revelation from God and not by digging around in old books seem interesting to you? If it is true that we lived with God in a pre-mortal state, a fact that you claim to remember, and nobody seems to know about it but the Mormons, isn’t that significant? If we were all prepared by God himself and angelic guides to come here to Earth for a specific purpose, don’t you think that God would reveal that fact to his prophets — and shouldn’t a religion that teaches such a doctrine be seen as very much in line with the truth and with God’s purposes for mankind?
      I highly treasure my knowledge of the pre-existence — it provides me with the idea that I once lived with a loving Heavenly Father, that I was sent here to Earth for a purpose, and that my main purpose in life is to live in a way that I can return to my heavenly home to live with God again. This belief gives strong meaning to my life and motivation to be faithful to God. I know that I would not have this knowledge if I were not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  14. Jen
    Posted October 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    if anyone is interested in how to get a radio interview of Roy Mills on audio cassette go to or write to Zohara Hieronimus po box 648, Owings Mills, MD 21117 ask for the 11-5-01 interview

  15. Jen
    Posted July 2, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    I have very vague memories of being in a place where I felt completely loved and at peace and also felt a lot of guidance around me. When I was a young child, I got the sense that I had come from somewhere else and felt so insecure here, compared to where I came from. Like Roy said in his radio interview which i have given the link previously, we choose to come here to go through negative experiences to develope our spirits. In heaven there are no negative experiences, so we have to come down to earth. (I am not quoting Roy exactly, but basically thats what he said in the interview.)

  16. Bregg
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    The past has happened to all of us. The secret of knowing and remembering how glorious, and bright everything was should be as easy as remembering yesterday. Bringing more peace to as many people as we possibly can do is always the best habits for all of us to stay in.

  17. matt ballard
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I also remember being in Heaven before birth. This was a nice article to stumble upon to validate that I am not alone. Many of my experiences were similar to what was described here but the path that brought me to my birth here was very different. Even regrettable. Thank you for posting this.

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