Purpose of Life
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church) believe we were sent here to earth for a purpose: to become like our Father in Heaven. God is the father of our spirits and we lived with Him before we came to earth. Heavenly Father created the Plan of Salvation to help us understand and become like Him so that we might one day return to live with Him. The Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, referred to this plan as the “great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). The Plan of Salvation consists of three different parts: Pre-mortal Life, Mortal Life, and Life after Death.
We are sons and daughter of Heavenly Father, and we lived with Him as spirit children before we came to this earth. While we were in the presence of Heavenly Father, He presented to us the Plan of Salvation. We were told that we would be sent to earth to learn and grow and become more like Him. God gave us one of our most precious gifts, the gift of agency, or free will. We are all endowed with the power to choose for ourselves what we will do. Lucifer (or Satan) presented an alternate plan to Heavenly Father’s which would take away our agency and give him power over us. He would guarantee that all of us would return to live with God. In return for his plan, he wanted all the glory for himself. However, Jesus Christ said he would follow Heavenly Father’s plan and that the glory would all belong to the Father. This presentation and choosing of plans is referred to in Mormon doctrine as the Council in Heaven. Heavenly Father accepted Jesus Christ’s offer to become our Savior, which angered Lucifer. Lucifer rebelled and took those spirits who chose his plan with him to tempt and trouble us once we went to earth.
When we left the presence of Heavenly Father and came to earth, a veil was placed on our minds, causing us to no longer have the memory and knowledge of our time in the pre-mortal world. We came to earth to be tested and challenged, so that we could learn and grow and prove to our Heavenly Father that we are worthy and willing to return to Him again. Adam and Eve were the first sent to live here on earth. They lived in the Garden of Eden and were allowed to walk and talk with God. They were told never to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; however, they were tempted by Satan and partook of the fruit. As a result, they were forced to leave the Garden of Eden. A veil was placed over their eyes and they no longer lived in the presence of Heavenly Father. We all come to earth with a veil over our eyes as well. We don’t remember our time in the Pre-mortal Life with Heavenly Father. As part of our time on earth, Satan is allowed to tempt us. We are subject to pain, suffering, and death that we may learn from our experience to discern good from evil. Facing challenges and choosing to do what is right is part of the purpose of our mortal lives and the Plan of Salvation. Our Heavenly Father provided a Savior for us to show the way to return to God. Through the commandments and example Jesus Christ has given us, we know the way back to our Heavenly Father.
The Plan of Salvation required an Atonement be made on our behalf so that we could repent and receive forgiveness in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father again. No unclean thing can enter the presence of God, but we cannot cleanse ourselves from sin. Jesus Christ suffered Himself to be crucified. He took upon Himself our sins and our pain as well. Now, through the power of His Atonement, if we are willing to follow Him, repent of our sins, and keep our Heavenly Father’s commandments, we will be worthy of the Atonement’s cleansing power. This will make us worthy to return to live in our Heavenly Father’s presence.
Our Heavenly Father has also provided us with prophets, both in the past and present, who are the mouthpieces for His will here on earth. If we follow the words of the prophets and strive to live by their teachings, we will be able to continue in the path of righteousness as we live here on earth.
Life after Death
Our life does not end after our physical death here on earth. Our spirits will enter the spirit world after they leave our bodies. Those who were not able to listen to or who chose not to accept the Gospel during their time on earth will have the opportunity to do so in the spirit world.
Through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all who will ever live on this earth will be resurrected. Our spirits will be reunited with our bodies forever. After we are resurrected, we will return to the presence of our Heavenly Father where we will be judged according to our works while in this life. Those who have followed the example of Jesus Christ, have repented of their sins, and have done all they can to keep the commandments of God will receive a place in the Celestial Kingdom where they will be blessed to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father.