Monday, March 24, 2014

Life Is A School, Not Merely A Test (And What That Means About Repentance)

(This is a talk that I gave in sacrament meeting yesterday.)

I am going to begin my remarks by sharing two scriptures. The first scripture comes from the Book of Abraham, which describes a pre-mortal council in heaven in which the Lord says, “[W]e will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:24–25). According to this scripture, the purpose of this mortal life is to test us to see whether we will do everything that God commands us to do. 
The second scripture comes from the Doctrine and Covenants: “[I]t is not meet that [God] should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant.” Instead of expecting God to “command in all things,” we are counseled to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:26–27).
This presents an interesting paradox. The passage in the Book of Abraham suggests that the purpose of life is to see if we will do everything that God tells us to do. But according to the passage in the Doctrine and Covenants, God wants us to do things without his having to tell us what to do.