Meaning of Life
There is an answer to brokenness. There is meaning in life.
Leo Tolstoy honestly recorded his own adult longing to know the meaning of life. Each of us is born with a spiritual compass and longing to seek truth, to acquire this knowledge in a personal way, and it is available. Tolstoy raises the questions of the soul in these words:
Behold me then, a man happy and in good health, hiding the rope in order not to hang myself to the rafters of the room where every night I went to sleep alone; behold me no longer going shooting, lest I should yield to the too easy temptation of putting an end to myself with my gun.
All this took place when so far as all my outer circumstances went, I ought to have been completely happy. I had a good wife who loved me and whom I loved; good children and a large property which was increasing with no pains on my part. I was more respected by my kinsfolk and acquaintances than I had ever been; I was with praise by strangers; and without exaggeration I could believe my name already famous. Moreover I was neither insane nor ill. On the contrary, I possessed a physical and mental strength which I have rarely met in persons of my age. I could mow as well as the peasant, I could work with my brain eight hours uninterruptedly and feel no bad effects…
What will be the outcome of what I do today? Of what shall I do tomorrow? What will be the outcome of all my life? Why should I live? Why should I do anything? Is there in life any purpose which the inevitable death which awaits me does not undo and destroy?
These questions are the simplest in the world. From the stupid child to the wisest old man, they are in the soul of every human being. Without an answer to them, it is impossible, as I experienced, for life to go on (Tolstoy, L. 1882, My Confession, Quoted in W. James 1920, The Varieties of Religious Experiences, New York: Longmans Green, 153-55).
The signature questions of life, as Tolstoy poignantly shares, include: Who am I? Where am I going? Why? Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons, the “Mormon” Church) testify that that God reveals and has revealed these answers for each of His seeking children to receive and know. We lived with Him before in a heavenly home and progressed to a point in His presence and among our other spiritual brothers and sisters. The time came for an earth-experience, through which we could, temporarily out of the presence of our Heavenly Parents, be tested, experience a range of emotions, gain a body that would be tested and tried, and have circumstances to prove our faith in Jesus Christ, which existed in our pre-mortal life but is now deliberately veiled for testing purposes but easily accessed through a sincere search.
Our purpose includes an eternal perspective on life and means that nothing we do is in a vacuum or returns void. We will live forever after this life in a state of light and glory reflective of who we’ve become, by virtue of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice for sin and His ultimate resurrection. There is order, purpose, meaning, beauty, sense, in all of life. Amid the chaos, there can be peace. There is an overruling hand. God is sovereign, and while not all suffering is eliminated, He is not an absentee Father. He works and operates by law–the very highest laws–and agency must be afforded to each of us to grow. There are, therefore, times when He by that law permits that agency to operate–though He hates its misuse–so that others may be judged according to their deeds and not according to the possibility of those deeds. He then takes the pain and suffering and sanctifies it and works an outcome in the long run that subsumes that and changes that to work for that soul’s good. His entire plan is for our “immortality and eternal life”–our success here and now, and eternally. He is God of love, a God of law, a God of peace, a God of justice and mercy, a God who delights in teaching us, in revealing Himself to us. He desires a relationship with each of us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ includes this entire plan of salvation or happiness. It provides a moral, spiritual, and emotional anchor for all we do on earth. We invite you to learn more about its message, which is the message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons; errantly called by the media, the “Mormon” Church).