Lesson 29: The Purpose of Life

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 109–12


Objective

Each young man will better understand the purpose of his mortal life.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed: scriptures for each young man.

  2. 2.

    You may wish to preassign some of the quotations and the poem to different young men.

  3. 3.

    You may need two weeks to teach this lesson.

Note

In this lesson, you will review the purpose of life with the young men. It will be an opportunity for them to share their knowledge and feelings about the ten different parts of life as outlined. Encourage the young men to express themselves freely concerning each part of life. This is an overview lesson. Keep the discussion moving rather than focusing on one part, so that the young men understand the plan of salvation as a whole.

Suggested Lesson Development

An Overview of the Plan

Chalkboard and discussion

Write The Purpose of Life at the top of the chalkboard. Ask the young men to explain the purpose of life in their own words.

Tell the young men that you will discuss ten essential parts of our lives in detail.

To help you in your discussion, each adviser presentation provides (1) a brief description of what is important about that phase of life, (2) relevant scriptures or quotations, and (3) questions to stimulate further discussion.

Write each point on the chalkboard as it comes in the lesson. Then ask different young men to read one or two of the scriptures or quotations that follow. Discuss these together. Finally, consider the suggested questions and others you have prepared that will help the young men broaden their understanding of that part of life.

1. Life before Birth

Adviser presentation

God declared, “I am God; I made the world, and all men before they were in the flesh” (Moses 6:51). Explain that our spirits lived in the presence of our Father in Heaven before we were born in the flesh. The things we did there influence our lives here, just as the things we do here will reward or retard us in the life hereafter. This sublime truth gives purpose to mortal life.

Scriptures and discussion

Have the young men read and discuss the following scriptures: Jeremiah 1:4–5; Doctrine and Covenants 93:21–23; Abraham 3:22–27.

  • What is the first estate?

  • What is the second estate?

  • What blessing did you receive from keeping your first estate?

  • How do you think you felt when you learned that you would be coming to earth?

2. Birth

Adviser presentation

Explain that birth is one step in God’s master plan for his children.

Poem, quotation, and discussion

Have a young man read the following quotation from William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality, from Recollections of Early Childhood.” Help the young men understand the meaning of this poem.

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.”

President Spencer W. Kimball stated:

“This is no accident that children would be born. This is a program carefully planned. The Lord could have provided some other way, but how could parents love and nurture their children in such a case? …

“This was the normal, proper way to preserve the total program, to bring souls into the world and to give them opportunities for growth” (“The Lord’s Plan for Men and Women,” Ensign, Oct. 1975, p. 4).

  • Why do many parents feel such a closeness to our Heavenly Father at the birth of a child?

  • What do you think Wordsworth meant when he said that we came “trailing clouds of glory”?

3. Faith

Adviser presentation

Explain that parents have a responsibility to teach their children to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to walk uprightly before the Lord. This teaching should begin early and continue through each child’s life. As a child grows, he learns the many principles of the gospel, develops faith, learns about and applies repentance, and learns the great law of obedience.

Scriptures and discussion

Choose two or more of the following scriptures for the young men to read and discuss: Matthew 17:19–20; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:2; 11:6; Doctrine and Covenants 68:25.

4. Education

Adviser presentation

Read the following passages:

“The glory of God is intelligence” (D&C 93:36).

“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection” (D&C 130:18).

Explain that we should seek knowledge and wisdom as long as we live.

Scriptures and discussion

Choose two or more of the following scriptures for the young men to read and discuss: John 17:3; Doctrine and Covenants 88:78–80, 118; 90:24; 130:18–21; 136:32–33.

  • How does what you learn or do not learn now affect your eternal future?

  • What can a person do to ensure continued learning throughout life?

  • If you were to leave this earth life today, what judgment would you make on how you have used your opportunities for education?

  • What knowledge is the most important for each of us to learn? Why?

5. Marriage for Eternity

Adviser presentation

Explain that as our spirits and bodies are eternal, so may the family circle become eternal through obedience to the laws and principles of the gospel. One of the most beautiful of all these principles is marriage for time and eternity. Through this sacred ceremony and principle, worthy couples may be joined together not just until death, but forever.

Scripture, quotation, and discussion

Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 11:11; Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4.

Have a young man read the following statement from Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“The most important things that any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ever does in this world are: 1. To marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority; and 2. To keep the covenant made in connection with this holy and perfect order of matrimony—thus assuring the obedient persons of an inheritance of exaltation in the celestial kingdom” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 118; italics deleted).

  • Why does the Lord place such importance on this principle?

  • How can you prepare for this important part of your life?

  • How can you receive the Lord’s help in preparing for temple marriage?

6. Work and Service

Adviser presentation

Read the following:

“Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). This was God’s first commandment to his children on earth. And this counsel is for all—earnest labor is honorable and good for mankind.

Scriptures and discussion

Choose two or more of the following scriptures to read and discuss: Genesis 3:19; John 9:4; Philippians 2:12; Mosiah 2:16–17; Doctrine and Covenants 68:30–31; 75:29; 88:124; Moses 1:39.

  • How does what you do today determine the work you will perform tomorrow?

  • What is the difference between idleness and rest?

  • How does service enlarge a person?

  • How does service develop love?

7. Family Unity

Adviser presentation

Explain that when a husband and wife and their children obey divine law, their family unity and happiness continue beyond the grave.

Scriptures and discussion

Read and discuss the following scriptures: Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1–4; Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–42.

  • What can you do to help develop family unity in your home?

8. Adversity

Adviser presentation

Explain that life was not meant to be without problems. We are made strong through overcoming obstacles and by resisting evil. The Apostle Paul said, “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (Hebrews 12:6).

Scriptures and discussion

Choose one or more of the following scriptures to read and discuss: 2 Nephi 2:11; Doctrine and Covenants 29:39; 31:9.

  • Why does the Lord allow opposition to be a part of life?

  • How have you been blessed in adversity?

  • In what ways can life be too easy?

Scripture

Read Abraham 3:25–26 again, and ask the young men to suggest how keeping the commandments will affect their lives. Help them understand that keeping the commandments can bring happiness now. In fact, keeping the commandments is the only way to find happiness.

9. Death

Adviser presentation

Explain that death, like birth, is a part of eternal life. Early or late, we all must face it. The faith that we may live again with our loved ones and friends can be a great comfort to us.

Scriptures and discussion

Choose two or more of the following scriptures for the young men to read and discuss: Alma 11:42; 12:24; Doctrine and Covenants 29:42–43; 42:46–47.

  • Why do people fear death?

10. Life after Death

Adviser presentation

Explain that life is eternal. Our spirits never die, and the reuniting of spirit and body is promised to all: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Scriptures and discussion

Choose two or more of the following scriptures to read and discuss: Alma 11:42–44; 40:4; 41:13–15; Moses 1:39.

  • What does the knowledge of universal resurrection mean to you?

  • How does your love for the Savior increase with the knowledge of this gift to you?

  • What can you do now to show your appreciation?

Conclusion

Quotation

Read the following quotation:

“So here you are on earth, with no memory of what went before, and only faith to whisper what comes after. Be assured that you are here, not by accident or chance, but as part a glorious, everlasting plan.

“By a still, small voice within us, and through revelation to his appointed prophets, God our Eternal Father guides the affairs of his children.

“You are here on earth to learn, to find that fulness of joy that comes through doing the will of your Heavenly Father. After speaking to the eleven apostles about keeping the commandments, Jesus said, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ (John 15:11.) …

“Resurrection comes as a gift to every man through Jesus Christ, but the reward of the highest eternal opportunities you must earn. It is not enough just to believe in Jesus Christ. You must work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve, know his laws and live them.

“This is the way to peace and happiness and the fulness of everlasting life. It is your Heavenly Father’s way. …

“Be assured that you are a spirit child of God. You are of his lineage. He has a plan of progression for you and for all of his children.

“Whence cometh man? You now understand part of the answer to this great question, which has challenged inquiring minds through the ages. A deeper understanding will provide greater meaning, purpose, and joy to you in this life and forever” (Your Pre-Earth Life [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976], p. 9).

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men turn to Matthew 25:31–34. As a young man reads the scripture to the class, ask the other young men to consider how that scripture refers to them.

  • How would you feel if one day in the future Jesus Christ said to you, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”?

  • What are you doing now to prepare for your eternal future?

Testimony

Point out to the young men that they were valiant in the premortal existence, and share with them your testimony about the importance of keeping the commandments in this life so that they can return to live with their Heavenly Father again.