Meaning of Life
Sometimes we can go along in life, filling our time with the concerns of the world. Some things are most important to us — our relationships, especially with family and close friends, our education and vocations. Sometimes, however, the things of the world fail us. Lost jobs, broken relationships, ill health come to all of us sometime during our mortal existence. Death is a certainty none of us can escape, and usually before our own demise, we lose a loved one. Many of us have only a dim idea of a life after this one, offering us little comfort during tough times. Usually during a time of duress, we begin to wonder if there is more to life than this. There are many great questions that plague us, too. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Why is there evil and disappointment in the world?
The overwhelmingly hopeful and life-changing message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that there is a God. He is your literal Father, and you are His child. He has a plan for you, wherein you can have help and peace during your life, and live forever with your loved ones after you die. The Lord actually has a mission statement that focuses on you — “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:39). Thus, the whole work of God is to make you more like Himself.
God is the creator of the universe, and He created everything through “the Word,” His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father is the Father of our spirits, which were created in a realm that pre-existed this world. Mormons call this realm “pre-mortal life” or the “pre-existence.” Christ was the first-born of Heavenly Father’s spirit children. He was and is more intelligent than all the rest of us put together, and exceeds us all in righteousness, desiring always to do only the will of His Father.
Free agency, the gift of being able to choose between good and evil, is an unchangeable law of the universe. All the elements choose to obey God, because He is perfect in love, wisdom, justice. Heavenly Father does everything possible to guarantee the agency of all of His children. Thus, He has placed opposition on the earth to guarantee free choice.
And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbiddenfruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:14-16).
During pre-mortal life, one of Heavenly Father’s spirit children, Lucifer, rebelled. He desired to be the Savior of the World by robbing us of our free agency, thereby saving every soul. And then he wanted all the glory for himself. There was a war in heaven, and Lucifer was cast out with 1/3 the host of heaven. He became Satan, the author of evil. He provides the opposition necessary for us to exercise our agency.
The fall of Adam and Eve is part of God’s plan. Adam and Eve lived in a sanctified world, not subject to death or disease, but unable to give birth. Through their fall, the world fell to a “lone and dreary” state. Mankind would ever become subject to death and corruption. The atonement of Jesus Christ overcame death, so that all of us could be resurrected after we die. All people (indeed, all animals and plants, too) will be resurrected, whether good or evil, and live forever in youth and health.
However, there is a “second death,” which is defined as the separation from God. Sin separates us from our Heavenly Father, and all of us have sinned. If we believe in Christ and keep His commandments, then His atonement provides the grace whereby we can be saved from suffering for our own sins. He has already suffered the wrath of God for those who believe and repent.
Sometimes God’s plan is called the Plan of Salvation. It is also called the Plan of Progression. We start as untried and nurtured spirit children of our Heavenly Father. We come to an imperfect world with imperfect bodies to be tried and tested, and to develop faith and form families. When we die, our spirits separate from our bodies, and we go to a place called the Spirit World. In the spirit world, those who never had a chance to hear the gospel of Christ on earth are taught. Men cannot sin in ignorance. We are not held accountable for our sins, if we were never taught God’s law. Those who reject the saving atonement of Jesus Christ will have to suffer for their own sins.
Later, we are resurrected and judged, to inherit a kingdom of heaven. God dwells in the highest kingdom of heaven, called the Celestial. Those who qualify can have eternal families there. Even the lower kingdoms are glorious beyond all description. Rather than playing harps through all eternity, we will eternally learn and progress.