As we venture in this life, all of us at one time or another have asked, 'What is my purpose in life?'. We can break that question down into three separate questions – that being, Where did I come from? Why am I here? and Where am I going? They are questions that each human being ask sometime during his mortal life here on earth. Many times these questions are asked when one has had some illness or death in a family. We each want to know that when we leave this life, that there is more than what we know now. We also want to know what is the purpose of this life? what am I to learn and, what am I to do that is worthwhile?
All of the answers to these questions are deep inside each one of us. We are the offspring of a loving Father in Heaven who loves us and who has not left us alone to wonder in the wilderness on our own. Just as our earthly parents want the best for us, so does our Heavenly Father and Mother. We lived with them long before we came to this earth, we were taught at their knees, and we were sent to earth at this time for a purpose.
With the Light of Christ born with us, we can each pray and ask for the answers that we so desire to know. The Lord does not leave us stranded – He is there is answer every question that plagues us. Those answers may come through a burning in our heart, through a family member, a friend, or someone we don't even know. Our responsibility is to open our hearts and minds to the answers the Lord wants to give us and to truly listen.
Our Father in Heaven provided for us a plan in which to follow. He is the creator of that plan. It is designed for man's progress and ultimate salvation and exaltation.
Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits. We are his literal children and we lived with Him before we were born. We are not like Him however, and we cannot be like Him and enjoy all the blessings that He enjoys without the experience of living with a mortal body on this earth.
We live in a world where we are bombarded by numerous messages from numerous people and churches. How do we tell what is truth and what is not? The Apostle Paul predicted centuries ago that, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:3-4) There is no need for confusion. The answers to our questions regarding the purpose of this life have been given to us in the scriptures.
In Abraham 3:26 it states that we learned about the plan of salvation before we were born and which is referred to as our first estate. "And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever."
We lived as spirit children with our Father in Heaven and we made certain steps of progression to prepare for the opportunity of housing our spirits with our earthly bodies. We learned that our Father held a council to explain the purpose of earth life. We each had the opportunity to accept or reject the plan of salvation. We each had our free agency! The plan consisted of each having the opportunity of working out his own salvation on earth, with God's help.
Jesus Christ and Satan each had a plan in which to help us return to our Heavenly Father. Satan's plan was to force all to return, where Christ's plan was to teach us how to follow the plan and let us have our free agency. Christ was chosen as the leader! He would teach us how to follow the plan and He would be the One to redeem us from sin and death. "Behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved Chosen from the beginning, said unto me – Father, they will be done, and the glory be thine forever." (Moses 4:2) Because we chose the Savior's plan, we are here in our second estate. When we accepted the plan and its conditions, we earned the right to come to earth.
We each have been given two purposes for life on this earth; to gain a body of flesh and bones, and to have experiences that we could not gain any other way. We are each having experiences that test us to see if we will do all the things the Lord has commanded us to do. These commandments are culminated into the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every principle and ordinance given to us helps prepare us to return to our Heavenly Father and become more like Him.
Because of the Savior Jesus Christ, all of this is made possible. 'He is the center of the plan of our Heavenly Fathers. It was He who provided the ransom for all mankind. He came to earth as our Savior and Redeemer; Heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to overcome the Fall of Adam and Eve; He overcame the obstacle of physical death for us by giving up His own life. When He died on the cross, His spirit became separated from His body. On the third day His spirit and His body were reunited eternally, never to be separated again.' 1
Our life on earth is limited. There will come a time when each of us will die and where the spirit and body will be separated at death. However, because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected, whether or not we were good or evil. Death is not the end, only a doorway in which each of us will pass. Through the resurrection, our body and spirit will be reunited. We will then have a perfect, immortal body of flesh and bones that will never experience pain or death again. The glory we achieve in the next life will be contingent on our choices in this life. It is only through the Atonement and our obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can return and live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ once more.
After the Resurrection of the Savior, the Apostles went and preached this message to the people. Christianity started to spread through many of the lands. But, as time went on, the Church grew into a great apostasy in which the succession of the priesthood was broken. The authority to act in the name of God for spiritual ordinances had ceased to exist on the earth.
Modern day Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley stated: "Somehow, in that long season of darkness, a candle was lighted. The age of Renaissance brought with it a flowering of learning, art, and science. There came a movement of bold and courageous men and women who looked heavenward in acknowledgment of God and His divine Son. We speak of it as the Reformation. And then, after many generations had walked the earth – so many of them in conflict, hatred, darkness, and evil – there arrived the great, new day of the Restoration. This glorious gospel was ushered in with the appearance of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph [Smith]. The dawn of the dispensation of the fullness of times rose upon the world. All of the good, the beautiful, the divine of all previous dispensations was restored in this most remarkable season."
Following the First Vision given to Joseph Smith, the sacred record of the Book of Mormon was delivered to the Prophet. This book brought forth a new witness, a second witness of the Lord Jesus Christ and His mission to the people of the earth.
The Book of Mormon Prophet Amulek testified: "And now, my brethren, I would that, after ye have received so many witnesses, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance. Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:30-32)
The Father loves each of His children – there is none excluded from his love and from His plan. He desires for each of His children to return to Him.
1 "The Plan of Salvation", Perry, Nov 2006, pg 69-72