One of the grandest doctrines to be revealed through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that of foreordination that spirit children of Heavenly Father were foreordained prior to coming to this earth to fulfill certain missions and obligations. However, foreordination is never to be confused with predestination. Choice and accountability still accompany foreordination.
In the priesthood session of the April 1975 general conference, Elder Theodore M. Burton, assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, discussed foreordination and its importance to God's plan for His children. After quoting Doctrine and Covenants 86:9, he explained what the Lord meant by the phrase, "hid from the world with Christ in God."
"He means that according to the plan of salvation you were reserved or held back in the heavens as special spirit children to be born in a time and at a place where you could perform a special mission in life."
Elder Burton further explained that the concept of foreordination is not new. Along with citing references from other prophets and apostles, he quoted Alma 13:3: "And this is the manner after which they were ordained being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works [remember, this faith and works you demonstrated while you were still in the premortal world]; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceeding great faith, are called with a holy calling . . . which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such."
In speaking to young priesthood holders about this "birthright," Elder Burton declared: "God reserved for these days some of His most valiant sons and daughters. He held back for our day proved and trusted children, who He knew from their premortal behavior would hear the voice of the shepherd and would accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. He knew they would qualify themselves to receive the priesthood, that they would use the holy priesthood to limit Satan's destructiveness and make it possible for God to complete the work He had planned for the saving of His children.
"You young men of the Aaronic Priesthood represent, therefore, some of the finest men ever to be born on the earth. Thus, you and your fathers were reserved to be born at a time and in a place where you could not fail to hear the gospel preached and accept the holy priesthood."