Is Your Purpose on Earth to “Prove Yourself Obedient to the Commandments” or to Glorify Your Father in Heaven?

I knew for over a year that it was going to happen. Somehow, that didn’t make it any easier when the mobile butcher arrived and slaughtered our steer. When we bought this adorably cute miniature Angus I was fully aware that his purpose in life was to provide meat for our family. My husband, understanding how attached I get to all my critters, named him “Sir Tender Loin”. He did this so that every day I would be reminded that one day, Tender-Loin would be slaughtered and fulfill his purpose in life.

I’m sure glad my purpose in life isn’t that of Tender-Loin’s. Thinking about his purpose in life reminds me of when I was LDS. I used to believe that my purpose in life was to prove myself worthy. The reason I thought this was because that was what my church leaders had taught me. LDS prophet’s claim that Heavenly Father sends people to earth to prove whether or not they will be obedient to his commandments:

“We lived in the presence of God our Holy Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in a premortal existence. There we gained an understanding of the Father’s plan of salvation and the promise of help when we would be born as mortals on earth. The primary purpose of life was explained. We were told: “We 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; “And they who keep their first estate [that is to be obedient in the premortal existence] shall be added upon; … and they who keep their second estate [that is, to be obedient during mortal life] shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” Those words express the most fundamental purpose of your being on earth. That purpose is to prove yourself obedient to the commandments of the Lord and thereby grow in understanding, capacity, and every worthy trait.” Richard G. Scott, “Truth Restored,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 78.

Every time I looked inside my heart, I knew I was a complete failure. I knew how utterly unworthy I was. And, I believed I was the only person full of sin. When I looked at others in my Ward, it seemed everyone else was worthy.

Can you imagine the peace I found the day I was given a personal revelation that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with being obedient? The Holy Ghost revealed this truth to me through God’s Prophets, Jesus and His Apostles—recorded in scripture. Their testimony declared His truth to me: No one can be worthy or righteous through their obedience. In fact, no one can even be “good.

The LDS Apostle Scott taught that God sent us to earth to prove ourselves worthy. But in the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul testified he had “proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin”. He then quotes Psalm 14 as evidence: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

LDS scripture claims that men can and must prove themselves worthy through their obedience; but God’s Word testifies that “there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Jesus joined His testimony to this truth when He claimed “none is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19).

The Prophet Isaiah clearly told of the sad condition of all humans: “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (64:6). In one of Isaiah’s Messianic prophesies, he declares: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-12).

Notice that last verse in Isaiah “and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Here we see our Savior’s purpose for coming to earth! He came to take our sins upon Himself—as if He Himself had committed each and every sin. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “brought, as a lamb to slaughter” and that He would give “his soul an offering for sin”. Jesus came to earth to be slaughtered! He fulfilled His purpose at the cross, when “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

We were healed and forgiven through Christ’s sacrificial death, where every sin was paid for and forgiven. The Apostle Peter declared that all who believe it, receive it: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43).

Do you still believe that the “fundamental purpose of… being on earth… is to prove yourself obedient to the commandments of the Lord”? You will be given the opportunity to do so on Judgment Day. Every person will stand before God to prove whether they were obedient to His commandments–all of them. All who point to their own works as proof they should be allowed entrance into God’s Kingdom will be turned away (Matthew 7:22-23). Only through faith that Jesus was obedient for you, will you be judged to be as perfect as Heavenly Father.

My Angus steer was slaughtered to feed my family. My Savior Jesus was slaughtered to pay the penalty for all my sins–with His blood. I gave my life to Him the moment I found out I had been forgiven for all my sins with His blood. I know now what my purpose in life is; it’s to give all glory to my Heavenly Father, by all that I do.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)


  1. catzgalore said,

    September 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    oh I sure identify with your feelings about your steer. We used to call ours Jack (in the box)… I can’t help but make friends.
    Knowing NO ONE is worthy is so comforting. That sounds strange until I realize just what that means. It doesn’t mean I stop trying to be obedient, or stop trying to please the Lord, it just means that it is a reminder that it isn’t my trying that saves me. it is Jesus! His amazing love saves me even though I am not worthy. Hallelujah!

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    September 9, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Catz, Amen and Praise the Lord!

  3. Margaret said,

    September 23, 2011 at 8:35 am

    This is a powerful witness of our deplorable condition in sin — and the absolute gift of grace we receive in Jesus Christ. Everyone needs to consider these truths — not just Mormons — because our sinful natures often try to deceive us into work righteousness, no matter what church we belong to.


  4. Paula Coyle said,

    October 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Amen to that… simil justus et peccator <— me!

    I found this great quote the other day

    ‎"There can be neither a true motive nor an energizing power to “be holy as he is holy” until the conscience is set free by totally accepting the satisfaction to the law Christ rendered in our place—as our substitute." –William Romaine

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