The Purpose of Earth Life                                                                  Chapter 10Introduction         ...
Chapter 10                                                         ■   “We came to this earth that we might have a        ...
Chapter 10self-mastery. The sufferings of our Savior were            develop yourself and grow in ability and powerpart of...
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Dof g ch10

  1. 1. The Purpose of Earth Life Chapter 10Introduction 2. Mortality is our opportunity to live by faith in God (see Galatians 2:20; 3:11; JST, Romans 1:17; Earth life, though brief, is crucial to us in our Habakkuk 2:4).quest for eternal life. Here we receive bodies of 3. If we maintain faith in God, our trials in lifeflesh and bones and are tested in all things. Those will work together for our good and our eternalwho learn obedience and gain self-mastery will glory (see D&C 90:24; 58:2–4; 121:7–8; 122:5–9;return to live with God the Eternal Father. “All of Romans 8:28).us are but a few years removed from the Eternal E. Mortality provides us with the opportunity toPresence, from him whose children we are and develop the attributes of godliness.in whose house we dwelt. All of us are separated 1. We are commanded to become perfect as God isby a thin veil only from the friends and fellow perfect (see Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48).laborers with whom we served on the Lord’s 2. Improvement comes “line upon line, precepterrand before our eternal spirits took up their upon precept, here a little, and there a little”abodes in tabernacles of clay” (Bruce R. (2 Nephi 28:30; see also D&C 50:24).McConkie, in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 103; 3. The ordinances of the priesthood place theor Ensign, May 1974, 73). powers of godliness within our reach (see D&C 84:19–23).Doctrinal Outline 4. The measure of our creation, through God’s grace, is godliness (see Ephesians 4:12–13).A. We are that we might have joy.See 2 Nephi 2:25; Moses 5:10. Supporting StatementsB. God provided the opportunity for us to obtain aphysical body in mortality. A. We are that we might have joy.1. When combined, the spirit and the body compose ■ “Happiness is the object and design of our the soul of man (see D&C 88:15; Genesis 2:7). existence; and will be the end thereof, if we2. A physical body is essential to our obtaining a pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is fulness of joy (see D&C 93:33; 138:17). virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and3. The body should be a temple in which the Spirit keeping all the commandments of God” (Joseph of God may dwell (see 1 Corinthians 3:16–17; Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 6:19–20; D&C 93:35). 255–56).4. The body is sacred and should be properly valued (see Exodus 20:13; Genesis 1:26–27; 9:6; D&C 42:18–19).C. Mortality is our time of testing.1. Mortal life is a probationary period, the time for us to prepare to meet God (see Alma 12:24; 42:4, 10; 34:32).2. We are tested in mortality to show whether or not we will keep God’s commandments and overcome sin and opposition (see Abraham 3:25–26; D&C 98:14–15; 136:31; 124:55; Revelation 3:21).3. The tests of mortality often take the form of persecution, tribulation, calamity, personal adversity, and loneliness (see 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 1:7; Romans 5:3–5; D&C 101:2–4; 121:1).4. Those seeking to be obedient to God will not be tried or tested beyond their ability to bear it (see 1 Corinthians 10:13; Alma 13:28–30; 38:5).D. The tests of mortality are for our good.1. We taste the bitter fruits of life in order that we may grow and learn to prize the good (see Moses 6:55; D&C 29:39; 2 Nephi 2:1–2, 11). 27
  2. 2. Chapter 10 ■ “We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine’s body to having none. “All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not” (Smith, Teachings, 181). C. Mortality is our time of testing. ■ “Is there not wisdom in his [God’s] giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?” (Spencer W. Kimball,■ “There is nothing the Latter-day Saints can Faith Precedes the Miracle, 97). ■ “We are now in a day of trial to proveimagine that would afford them happiness that ourselves worthy or unworthy of the life which isGod has not unfolded to us. He has prepared to come” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brighameverything for the Latter-day Saints that they Young, 345).could possibly wish or imagine in order to effect ■ “We knew before we were born that we weretheir complete happiness throughout the vast coming to the earth for bodies and experience andeternities” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo that we would have joys and sorrows, ease andSnow, Fifth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of pain, comforts and hardships, health and sickness,Latter-day Saints, 63). successes and disappointments, and we knew alsoB. God provided the opportunity for us to obtain a that after a period of life we would die. Wephysical body in mortality. accepted all these eventualities with a glad heart,■ “At one time we were in the presence of our eager to accept both the favorable and unfavorable.Eternal Father. There is not a soul in this room, not We eagerly accepted the chance to come earthwardone, that has not seen him. You do not remember even though it might be for only a day or a year.it, I do not remember it, but nevertheless there was Perhaps we were not so much concerned whethera time before we ever came into this world when we should die of disease, of accident, or of senility.we dwelt in his presence. We knew what kind of a We were willing to take life as it came and as webeing he is. One thing we saw was how glorious might organize and control it, and this withouthe is. Another thing, how great was his wisdom, murmur, complaint, or unreasonable demands”his understanding, how wonderful was his power (Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, 106).and his inspiration. And we wanted to be like him. ■ “It is only by obedience to the laws of God thatAnd because we wanted to be like him, we are men can rise above the petty weaknesses ofhere. We could not be like him and stay in his mortality” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 211).presence, because we did not have glorious bodies D. The tests of mortality are for our good.of flesh and bones. We were just spirits, and the ■ “We are here that we may be educated in aspirit does not have flesh and bones. But we saw school of suffering and of fiery trials, which schoolhim in his glory and it was made known to us that was necessary for Jesus, our Elder Brother, who,by keeping his commandments and observing the scriptures tell us, ‘was made perfect throughevery covenant that would be given to us on this suffering.’ It is necessary that we suffer in allearth, we could come back again into his presence, things, that we may be qualified and worthy toreceiving our bodies in the resurrection from the rule, and govern all things, even as our Father indead—our spirits and bodies being united again, Heaven and His eldest son, Jesus” (Snow, Teachingsinseparably, never again to be divided. of Lorenzo Snow, 119). “If we will just be true and faithful to every ■ “Being human, we would expel from our livescovenant, to every principle of truth that he has physical pain and mental anguish and assuregiven us, then after the resurrection we would come ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if weback into his presence and we would be just like he were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress,is. We would have the same kind of bodies—bodies we might be excluding our greatest friends andthat would shine like the sun” (Joseph Fielding benefactors. Suffering can make saints of peopleSmith, Take Heed to Yourselves! 345). as they learn patience, long-suffering, and28
  3. 3. Chapter 10self-mastery. The sufferings of our Savior were develop yourself and grow in ability and powerpart of his education” (Kimball, Faith Precedes the and worthiness, to govern such a world with allMiracle, 98). of its people. You are sent to this earth not merely■ “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we to have a good time or to satisfy urges or passionsexperience is wasted. It ministers to our education, or desires. You are sent to this earth, not to rideto the development of such qualities as patience, merry-go-rounds, airplanes, automobiles, andfaith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and have what the world calls ‘fun.’all that we endure, especially when we endure it “You are sent to this world with a very seriouspatiently, builds up our characters, purifies our purpose. You are sent to school, for that matter, tohearts, expands our souls, and makes us more begin as a human infant and grow to unbelievabletender and charitable, more worthy to be called the proportions in wisdom, judgment, knowledge, andchildren of God . . . and it is through sorrow and power. That is why you and I cannot be satisfiedsuffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the with saying merely ‘I like that or want that.’ Thateducation that we come here to acquire and which is why in our childhood and our youth and ourwill make us more like our Father and Mother in young adulthood we must stretch and grow andheaven” (Orson F. Whitney, in Kimball, Faith remember and prepare for the later life whenPrecedes the Miracle, 98). limitations will terminate so that we can go on and■ “I used to think, if I were the Lord, I would not on and on” (Spencer W. Kimball, “. . . the Matter ofsuffer people to be tried as they are. But I have Marriage” [address delivered at University of Utahchanged my mind on that subject. Now I think I Institute of Religion, 22 Oct. 1976], 2).would, if I were the Lord, because it purges outthe meanness and corruption that stick around theSaints, like flies around molasses” (John Taylor,The Gospel Kingdom, 333).E. Mortality provides us with the opportunity todevelop the attributes of godliness.■ “Perfection is of two kinds—finite or mortal, andinfinite or eternal. Finite perfection may be gained bythe righteous saints in this life. It consists in livinga godfearing life of devotion to the truth, ofwalking in complete submission to the will of theLord, and of putting first in one’s life the things ofthe kingdom of God” (Bruce R. McConkie, MormonDoctrine, 567).■ “Christ became perfect through overcoming.Only as we overcome shall we become perfectand move toward godhood. . . . The time to dothis is now, in mortality. “. . . Men do not suddenly become righteousany more than a tiny acorn suddenly becomes anoak. Advancement to perfection can neverthelessbe rapid if one resolutely strides toward the goal”(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness,210).■ “When you climb up a ladder, you must beginat the bottom, and ascend step by step, until youarrive at the top; and so it is with the principles ofthe Gospel—you must begin with the first, and goon until you learn all the principles of exaltation.But it will be a great while after you have passedthrough the veil before you will have learnedthem. It is not all to be comprehended in thisworld; it will be a great work to learn our salvationand exaltation even beyond the grave” (Smith,Teachings, 348).■ “Each one of you has it within the realm of hispossibility to develop a kingdom over which youwill preside as its king and god. You will need to 29

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