Monday, March 26, 2012

The Purpose of Life (2 Nephi 2, part 2)

When people see this picture on my computer screen they normally look twice.  At first glance, there's really nothing here that causes them to spend even a whole second on it, other than just to see what I looked like in the summer of '89.  But then it hits them that there is a stream of water and a rock at the top of the picture.  Well, that ain't right.  How'd you do that?

Oh, the picture's upside down.  It doesn't take long to figure out.  So, what have we learned here today, boys and girls?  What wasn't right about the above picture is that it breaks the law, the law of gravity.  It ain't right 'cause you can't break that law.  Like Scotty used to say, "You cannot change the law of physics."

Gravity is a natural law.  There are also eternal laws.  One of these laws is discussed in the next part of our study of 2 Nephi 2.

Opposition in All Things
2 Nephi 2: 11-12
11.  For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things.  If not so, my first-born in the wilderness [still talking to Jacob], righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.  Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12.  Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation.  Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power and the mercy, and the justice of God.
If I read this correctly, and please comment with your insights as well, OPPOSITION in all things is a necessary part of our mortal experience.  If there were no opposition, we may as well not have come to earth, because there would have been no "end", or "purpose", in its creation.  And what is the purpose of the creation of our world?

Cool picture.

We pause now for a word from The Savior, Jesus Christ:  Moses 1: 39
39.  Behold, this is My work and My glory -to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
The purpose for which The Lord created the earth was to bring to pass our chance for Eternal Life.  We are born into a world of tenderness and harshness, of Eternal Truth available at our fingertips, and falseness and wickedness surrounding us in abundance.  We are given a list of things to avoid, and a physical body that thinks it wants those things.  We are given a list of things we should be doing, and a physical body that would rather not.  The choices we make to choose the words of light and life brought to us by the Holy Ghost from our Savior and Redeemer bring us closer to The Lord.  A choice in the other direction will lead us farther away from Him.  Choosing the good part when we are tempted to choose the bad part results in strengthening in us our commitment to follow Christ.  It is the opposition that makes that possible.  If mortality was easy, there wouldn't be any growth.  That reminds me of this song I like by the Indigo Girls.  It's called The Wood Song.  Here's the chorus and the last 2 verses of the song:

But the wood is tired, and the wood is old
And we'll make it fine, if the weather holds
But if the weather holds, we'll have missed the point
That's where I need to go
Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look
Skip to the final chapter of the book
And then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took
To get us where we are this far 
But the question drowns in it's futility
Even I have got to laugh at me
No one gets to miss the storm of what will be
Just holding on for the ride 

2 Nephi 2: 13-16
13.  And if ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness.  And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness.  And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery.  And if these things are not there is no God.  And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
14.  And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and He hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.

15.  And to bring about His eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had been created, our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.

16.  Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.  Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
Lots of opposites in there.  It would make for an interesting chart, but not today.  Let's look at these verses, and this whole chapter like this:  Why am I here on earth?  According to Lehi:

I am here to gain Eternal Life from my Heavenly Father.  

I (and all of us) lived with Heavenly Father before I was born, in what is known as the "pre-mortal life".  There I learned of my Heavenly Father's plan to help me gain Eternal Life, or Exaltation, as it is sometimes called.  The plan called for God to create bodies for Adam and Eve, put in them their spirits (or what is called in the scriptures as the "breath of life"), and place them in the Garden of Eden.  In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve made a choice to disobey The Lord's commandment to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in favor of obeying His commandment to multiply and replenish (or fill) the earth.  In eating of the fruit of the tree, they disobeyed The Lord, bringing about "The Fall of Man", a very important event in them and all of us gaining Eternal Life, which cut them and their posterity (that's us) off from Heavenly Father.  Before The Fall, there was no opposition.  After The Fall, Adam and Eve and their posterity had to live by the "sweat of their brow" and put up with mosquitoes and puncture weeds, which would prove to give the most righteous tire a flat.  These next few scriptures explain all of this:

2 Nephi 2: 19-23
19.  And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.

20.  And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.

21.  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.

22.  And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.  And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23.  And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for the knew no sin.
If you are saying to yourself, "I kind of understand that, but then again, I kind of don't," you aren't alone.  If I understood it all myself, I could write a much better explanation.  The next few verses help me to comprendo a lot about Our Heavenly Father's Plan.  They also answer the age old question:  What is the purpose of life?  Are you ready for the whole Purpose of Life to be summed up in 1 verse?

Hold On a Minute!!!

Let's try Google first.  Google knows a lotta stuff.

Here’s what to do:
  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.
Wow!  That sounds cool.  I wonder what he came up with for his own purpose.  Let's see...:
Here was my final answer: to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.
In Platonism, the meaning of life is in attaining the highest form of knowledge, which is the Idea of the Good, from which all good and just things derive utility and value. Human beings are duty-bound to pursue the good.
The Epicurean meaning of life rejects immortality and mysticism; there is a soul, but it is as mortal as the body. There is no afterlife, yet, one need not fear death, because "Death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved, is without sensation, and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us."
(Those are just 2 of many points of view of the many isms found at

If Google doesn't satisfy, you could try these:

You could ask Monty Python
You could as a wise guru
You could ask Chuck Norris
How about let's see what The Lord has to say on the subject.

2 Nephi 2: 24-26
24.  But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things.

25.  Adam fell that men might be and men are, that they might have joy.

26.  And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that He may redeem the children of men from the fall.  And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
  • Adam and Eve chose to disobey Heavenly Father and eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  They did this to bring forth the family of mankind.  Why things needed to work like this is a tougher conundrum.  

  • The consequence of their disobedience was that they and their posterity would be kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and cut off from God's presence.  This was "The Fall".

  • Heavenly Father is wise, and had already planned for this unavoidable eventuality.  The scriptures say that Jesus Christ was prepared from the foundation of the world (Moses 5: 57)

  • Jesus Christ came in the meridian of time, as He promised, and redeemed Adam and Eve and their posterity (that's us) from The Fall, giving us all the opportunity to be resurrected, be made perfect, and enter once again into the Presence of Our Heavenly Father, to be crowned with Eternal Life.  

Resurrection, the re-uniting of the body and the spirit after death, is a gift given by The Savior to all.  Eternal Life is also His gift to us, but we must choose to receive it.  The choice is ours, and the way is outlined in verses 27-28.

2 Nephi 2: 27-29
27.  Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

28.  And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto His great commandments; and be faithful unto His words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of His Holy Spirit;

29.  And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom. 
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift of the Atonement.  May we all choose righteousness over wickedness, holiness over misery, good over bad, life over death, incorruption over corruption, happiness over misery, sense over insensibility, the scriptures over Google, men, or even Chuck Norris, and sweet over bitter.  And notice how misery has 2 opposites:  Holiness and Happiness.  I like that. 

And let's choose liberty and Eternal Life over captivity and death. 

There is so much more to this chapter than I've talked about in these 2 posts.  What I have written I have written, and I excuse not myself.  If you have anything to add, please comment.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Peace be with you...


  1. I love what you post here. There are times when we do not know our very purpose but just like you I believe that believing in God, regardless of religion, can help us see what is our purpose in life.

  2. This is a most wonderful post on the purpose of life. I have read many (and I mean MANY) websites on this topic to see what people have to say on it - including's official page on it ( - but I have not seen someone use this chapter of 2 Nephi like you have to explain the purpose of life. Like you I am LDS and have even created my own webpage on the topic ( I took a different course of explanation and would love to hear what you have to say on it if you have the time to check it out.

    Again, I want to say thank you. This is a great page that I will most assuredly come back to.

    1. Holy Fruits, Batman, this is a most humbling comment. Thanks. I will check out your site soon; looking forward to it. Thanks again -jb