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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What is the Purpose of Life?

This seems like a strange post to post here, but my mind can’t seem to grasp this one so I am looking for input. At first it seems like a simple question, What is the Purpose of Life?

There are a lot of answers that I have heard on this Topic:

1. “Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25)

2. “And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.” (2 Nephi 2:21)

3. “... therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us which is after the resurrection of the dead. (Alma 12:24)

I feel these scriptures summaries all the general answers. We are here to have joy, repent while in the flesh, and prepare to meet God. All good so far.

Well, now let us look at a generic persons life. Let’s say they work 40 hrs a week, fulfills callings at church, temple recommend, overall a good person. I believe most LDS people will fall into this category. It just seems that there is a big gap between the Purpose of Life and the generic person. I believe I fall into the category of generic person qualities listed above, but I am still left wondering what is the Purpose of Life? Isn’t there anything more to this life than this?

4 comments:

Robby C said...

Good point Dallas. Here is another scripture that I think is along the same vain as Alma 12:24 but adds a new insight.
“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…therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinated the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.” (Alma 34:32-33)
I think the word “improve” is key to this discussion.

I’d like to propose the parable of the talents as an answer to this question. In the parable of the talents, one servant received five talents, one two talents and one servant received one talent. The servants that received five and two talents, doubled their talents. The one that received one did not. The servant that didn’t improve on his talents was subsequently called a wicked and slothful servant. The idea being that we need improve on (in the parable, double) what we have been given. Think of talents as your course in life. What are the talents that the “generic” LDS person is given. Born in the covenant, brought up in the church, taught the gospel, baptized, receive the priesthood, endowed, married in the temple, raise children to do the same. For many, that is what they were “set up” to do, and if they do it, they have only accomplished what they were supposed to. They have stayed the course. They have maintained the talents that they were given, but haven’t improved on them. Think of it as an airplane flying at a certain altitude. Doing all the things mentioned above just keeps ones plane flying at the same altitude, because that was the course that was set from the beginning. So what is the purpose of life? To stay on the same course and fly at the same altitude? No. It is to improve on the talents that we have been given. We need to get to a higher altitude. If we have stayed at the same altitude, we have not increased our talents. We are wicked and slothful servants. Maintaining the status quo just won’t cut it. So how do we get to a higher level? What is that level? I’m not going to threadjack Dallas’ post, so you'll have to wait for a new post about this. I’ve been working on a post talking about this very thing for a while now, but it’s not quite ready yet. I will try to get it ready soon. I do agree with Dallas though. I think there is more than just cruising at the same altitude. We must get to a higher altitude. That is our purpose.

p p p p plower said...

The underlying factors of the purpose of life are the three main things that were stated in the original post but how do we actually achieve any of that? The answer is to improve, as Robby stated, or spiritual progression. However, how do we change our altitude? I teach History and Geography at a middle school and recently I have been teaching about numerous African countries. As a result I have discovered that trying to teach 13 and 14 year olds about the atrocities in the world that are occurring right now is a lot harder than one might think. Most of my students do not really take anything to heart or even somewhat try to understand the problems in the world. Middle School kids only see themselves and what actually affects them in the here and now or in other words only see the surface of things. Therefore the most effective way to teach them is to bring everything down to their level in an individualized way. I have been thinking that often times in terms of our spiritual progression we are the same way. When attending church every Sunday one tends to hear the same things over and over again, however; not everybody takes things to heart; including me. If we did take everything to heart in church we would have all progressed to the fullest extent and would have reached perfection. Unfortunately that does not always happen. Therefore maybe we need it stated in a different way; or in other words on a more individualized level or perhaps with individualized study. I am reading a book, along with my family, on the Knight family and their relationship to Joseph Smith. We discussed that most of the incidents that took place, which we are reading about, one never dreams of hearing about in church. The point was brought up that it is our job to study the things on the surface but also to study the concepts and events that are rarely talked about. This could be important because that is maybe when the mysteries of God will be unfolded to us. When we dive deeper into the interpretations of the Gospel we may understand concepts better if they are put forth to us in a different fashion. We may then take the lessons to heart and we may even end up improving our spiritual progression and changing our altitude.

Dallas said...

Thanks for your comments, both of you . I fully agree with them. The Sunday school answers for the Purpose of Life, just don't seems to dive deep enough for me, they seem almost childish. I never really applied the Parable of the talents to a purpose of life, I don't know why it seems obvious now. Also reaching a new altitude is something that I can really grasp. I am starting to read Gileadi's "Ascending the Ladder to Heaven" and he talks about obtaining the higher law that Moses brought down, but on a personal level. Which could be an analogy to higher altitudes. I look forward to your new post on this topic.

Robby C said...

The new post is here (Future Hall of Famers). Hopefully you'll see the connection