Why are we here? Where are we going? What is the meaning of life? These are the golden questions asked by missionaries all the time. Yeah it might be a bit bigheaded of me, but I am going to take on the first of these questions. Why are we here? The scriptures tell us that this earth is a preparatory state, a time for us to learn so that we might become like God. This life has also been described as a test, a series of trials that test our faith in a God who created a system where we are dependent entirely on faith, without any evidence to back it up. I think that, in addition to that, this life is about establishing patterns.
When we grow up as children, we learn to walk by trial and error. But more importantly, we begin to develop patterns of out steps that are often unique to us. Have you ever recognized a person from across a crowded room only by the way they were walking? That is possible because as we grow up we find patterns that work for us and we stick to them. Unconsciously we follow the patterns that have been ingrained in us. These patterns are very difficult to break and re-pattern and sometimes aren’t even possible to do so. That is why addiction is such a vicious cycle. Most people use addiction to cope with their problems and so often times we create a pavlovian response. Have a problem, better cope with drugs, alcohol, porn.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the verse in Alma which states that the same spirit which possesses us in this life will follow us into the next. The patterns we develop here on this earth become a core element of our spirits. They are unconscious manifestations of past actions. We are told that our agency is immutable, that it will never be taken away. We have been told that at the judgment day we will ultimately judge ourselves and choose where to go after looking at our lives.
The prophets have told us that repenting of addictions in the spirit world will be even more difficult than it is here. Why? because we have more control over our actions here, we have a body that we can control. It makes sense, here we can re-write the patterns by filling the wholes they leave with other endeavors, thus re-patterning our lives.
So how does this answer the question of why we are here? We are here to establish those patterns, to day-after-day choose us that day whom we will serve. We are here to be tested on choosing Christ in our lives. For if we create a pattern of choosing Christ we will be humble of spirit and, at that great and terrible day, ultimately choose Christ over our past lives.If you liked this concept then you will love a key section of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. It is a short read but describes Lewis’ view of a bus ride from Hell to Heaven and what he finds there. It is a fantastic and quick read that I highly recommend.