Meaning of Life
Mormons believe in God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. They believe that under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for us to live and gain experience. Many people wonder, “Where did I come from? Why am I here on earth? Where am I going?”
God is the Father of our spirits. We all lived with Him in a spiritual realm before being born into mortality on earth. Literally God is the Father of all who come to earth, and He loves his children. God’s whole purpose – His work and his Glory – is to enable each of His children to enjoy all of His blessings. He has provided a perfect plan to accomplish His purpose. In the scriptures God’s Plan is called a Merciful Plan, The Plan of Happiness, The Plan of Redemption, and The Plan of Salvation.
Jesus Christ is the center of that Plan. Through His atonement, Jesus Christ fulfilled His Father’s Purpose and made it possible for all of His children to enjoy the blessing of immortality and Eternal Life. Satan (or the Devil) is an enemy to God’s Plan. In the pre-mortal existence, Satan, then called Lucifer, rebelled against God’s plan and then was cast out of heaven with his followers, never to qualify for physical bodies. Their progress has stopped.
Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children. The eternal progression of Heavenly Father’s Children depends upon on how they use their agency.
Adam and Eve were the first of God’s Children to come to earth. God created them and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were created in God’s image with bodies of flesh and blood. While they were in the Garden, they were in the presence of the God and could live forever. They lived in innocence, and God provided for their needs. God gave them the Gift of Agency. God commanded them not to eat the forbidden fruit, or the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Obeying the commandment meant that they could remain in the garden, but they could not progress by experiencing opposition in mortality. They could not know joy because they could not experience sorrow and pain.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit, and they did choose to do so. This was part of the Plan. Because of this choice they were cast out from the garden and out of God’s presence. This event is called The Fall. Separation from God’s Presence is called spiritual death. Adam and Eve also became subject to physical death – separation of body and spirit. They could now experience diseases and all types of suffering. They had moral agency, or the ability to choose between good and evil. This made it possible for them to learn and progress. It also made it possible for them to make wrong choices and to sin. In addition, they could now have children, so the rest of God’s Spirit Children could come to earth, obtain physical bodies, and be tested.
Life on earth is an opportunity and a blessing. The purpose of this life is to have joy and to prepare us to return to God’s presence. In mortality we live in a condition wherein we are subject to both physical and spiritual death. Before the world was organized, our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ made it possible for all the children of God to overcome the effects of the fall. To be forgiven of our sins, we must accept Him by exercising faith in Him, repenting, receiving baptism by immersion, by receiving the laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost, and by striving faithfully to keep His commandments. Through continuing repentance, we may obtain forgiveness and be cleansed of our sins through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Even though Christ conquered physical death, all people must die, for death is the process by which we move from mortality to immortality. At death the spirit goes to the spirit world and the body goes to the grave. Death does not change personality or desires for good or evil. People who have passed on still have personality and agency. In the spirit world the gospel is preached to those who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. This levels the playing field for all of God’s children. All-loving and just, God will not condemn a person unless the person sins against knowledge and then refuses to repent. Spirits remain in the spirit world until the resurrection. Those spirits who have lived well on earth, according to whatever knowledge they received there, live in a part of the Spirit World called “paradise.” There, they enjoy the felicity of other loved ones who have passed on.
Through resurrection, all people will become immortal – they will live forever. Immortality is a free gift to all people, whether they are righteous or wicked. Eternal Life is not, however, the same as immortality. Eternal Life is a gift of God to those who obey and keep His commandments. It comes to those who are freed from sin and suffering through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is exaltation, which means living with God forever in eternal families. It is to know God and Jesus Christ and to experience the life they enjoy. Eternal Life is the name of the highest kingdom of heaven, wherein God and Christ dwell. It is important to understand that virtually all of God’s children will inherit a kingdom of glory. Only those who “sin against the Holy Ghost,” which means denying the Christ after receiving a certain witness of Him, will be condemned to hell.