Over the past few months, I have come to a deeper understanding of just what life is all about. I confess that the Plan of Salvation has never adequately explained the “why” of life to me. It only really explains the “what”. It explains what happened, what is happening, and what might happen. But it doesn’t really explain why it needs to happen that way.
As I have meditated on this, I have been granted a deeper understanding of what life is all about.
It goes something like this:
We believe God is a just and fair god. We believe that all people, regardless of their life circumstances, come to this life for roughly the same purpose. We believe that maybe some people have some additional special purposes (Joseph Smith springs to mind), but our common denominator is that we’re all here for the same reason.
So what is the common basis of our existence? We are all born, we all live, and we all die. But more importantly, we do not remember who we are, and the only thing we take with us when we leave is our selves. This leads us to the purpose of life.
Life is a massive scientific experiment.
A good experiment requires the minimal intervention of outside forces. It requires the isolation of the variable being considered, so that the variable can be examined directly. Without that crucial isolation, doubts arise as to what is truly causing the results being observed. The Fall and the Veil are the isolating factors in God’s experiment, and we are the variables. The Fall isolates us from His presence, and the Veil from our memories of Him.
When we are in the presence of God, we have an overwhelming desire to follow Him and do according to His will; He has a very persuasive personality. But people can be persuaded against their will, which is why He devised mortality as our experimental chamber. His continual presence would confound the results of the experiment.
In mortality, we exist separate from Him. We are not in His presence and are not influenced by His overwhelming love and goodness. Instead, we exist as free agents. We are variables, able to vary according to our own desires. In this environment, the only will that truly exerts control over our actions is our own.
The experiment of life is designed to answer the single question: what will you choose? Will you choose to seek out compassion and empathy and the qualities of Godhood? Or will you choose to seek out self-gratification, ego, control, and dominion?
The things that happen to us in life are not the point of life. Sickness is not the point. Health is not the point. Suffering is not the point. Happiness is not the point. Your circumstances are not the point.
The point is how you choose to respond to them. Life is an experiment to prove what you truly want to be happy. That is the purpose.