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I was talking to a dear Mormon friend and he asked me what Baha'is believe about people before they are conceived. I was wondering if any of you guys could help me out. Providing direct quotations from Ocean would be helpful too.

Baha'is believe the soul is an emanation from the Worlds of God.. We generally don't go extensively into describing the detail of the after-life or dwell very much on theological points as some may do...
AdibTeherzadeh described it this way:

The soul of man does not originate from the world of matter; it is an emanation from the spiritual worlds of God. During the period when the embryo is growing in the womb of the mother, the soul becomes associated with the body. Because the soul is a spiritual and not a material entity, it does not enter the body or leave it. The soul is exalted above entry or exit, ascent or descent. It in independent of any earthly agency. Its association with the body is similar to the association of light with a mirror. The light is not inside the mirror; it is reflected in it and when the mirror is removed, the light remains unaffected.

Since the soul is exalted above all physical creation, our minds are incapable of grasping its nature and powerless to fathom its essence. We can perceive only the attributes and qualities of the soul. In this life we have a limited capacity to understand spiritual verities. Our knowledge of the soul is derived from the Manifestations of God Who, through Their words, have conveyed some of its significance. And, words are inadequate tools for explaining spiritual realities.

- Art

Heavy subject Bruce!

Yes as above the quote as noted is from Teherzade..

Mysteriously the soul is created by God and has a connection to the body but does not enter it..

In the Hidden Words (Persian) no. 29 Baha'u'llah reveals:

"`Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things..."

Abdul-Baha in Some Answered Questions also mentions that the soul doesn't descend into the body and mentions pre-existence:

"...the rational soul, meaning the human spirit, does not descend into the body--that is to say, it does not enter it, for descent and entrance are characteristics of bodies, and the rational soul is exempt from this. The spirit never entered this body, so in quitting it, it will not be in need of an abiding-place: no, the spirit is connected with the body, as this light is with this mirror. When the mirror is clear and perfect, the light of the lamp will be apparent in it, and when the mirror becomes covered with dust or breaks, the light will disappear."

"But the universal divine mind, which is beyond nature, is the bounty of the Preexistent Power."

"So the preexistence of the specification and of the individualization of beings which are the things known of God the Most High does not exist; and these divine and perfect attributes are not so understood by the intelligence that we can decide if the Divine Knowledge has need of things known or not."