Is the purpose of life to get experience?

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I’ve heard people say the purpose of this life is to gain experience. As we gain experience we can become more like God, gaining wisdom, empathy and the like. Yet I have to wonder if the purpose of this life is to gain experience why do so many persons die before being able to really experience anything?

29 thoughts on “Is the purpose of life to get experience?

  1. Another question to ask is why do so many people go out of their way to limit the possible things that they *could* experience?

    How many people do you know who live in self-imposed bubbles of societal interaction when there’s an entire world of experiences waiting to be discovered?

  2. I’ll say that the primary purpose of this life is gain a mortal body.

    Everything else can be taken care of post mortem.

  3. Kim that would depend on what your defination of experiences is. Unless you count newborns or toddlers that die in their early years we all gain experiences and wisdom in everything we do so how can you say that so many persons die before being able to really experience anything?

  4. “…we all gain experiences and wisdom in everything we do…”

    Sally, I defy you to find any wisdom in watching 2 hours of Spongebob Squarepants. :P

  5. Perhaps those that die in infancy are capable of aquiring important attributes through other means, be it pre-mortal or post-mortem, whereas the rest of us could only accomplish the same goal with mortal experiences added to the mix. Perhaps we just all have different learning styles?

  6. Nermal, I think that makes good sense. People have need of different kinds of experiences, including those before and after this life.

  7. rick said: “…we all gain experiences and wisdom in everything we do…”

    Sally, I defy you to find any wisdom in watching 2 hours of Spongebob Squarepants.”

    It beats two hours of Jerry Springer.

  8. What religion are you a part of? Have you missed all that is essential?

    Why are we here, you ask? Why did we come to earth? We came to earth to gain a body… sure… and we came to earth for experience… and as for those who died before gaining much experience… what do you think the millennium is for?

    As far as my understanding goes… we came to earth to gain a body, to gain knowledge, to gain wisdom, to gain experience, and to be tested.

    But how and what are we tested on? Now, I am no theologian, but I believe that we are here to learn that our Heavenly Father loves us. We are here to gain understanding and empathy. We are here to have our faith tested and, if we are strong, we will leave this world triumphant. We will leave this mortal existence having a knowledge of all that is true. Having a knowledge of the goodness of God. We will learn to have faith in God. And, just as importantly, a faith in ourselves, knowing that we did it. We made it through the world with our God as our light, as our guide. We had a faith in Him, and so He helped us to make it through. That is, what I believe, this life is for.

  9. what do you think the millennium is for?

    But that’s not this life. That’s two lives removed from this life if you count the Spirit World. But if we can bypass experience in this life in order to have experience in the millennium, why don’t we all just wait until the millennium?

  10. People who say “gaining experience” is the purpose of life are not drawing their worldview from the scriptures.

  11. I would argue that most Christians are not drawing their worldview from the scriptures.

    As a matter of fact, I’d say most cherry pick (from their scriptures) what they agree with already.

  12. You know Kim, like I said before – I am no theologian. But I would guess that the people who die early in life have a chance to learn the most vital of lessons elsewhere (my personal belief would be that that would occur during the millennium, but it’s just an assumption), and those of us who are “left behind” have things we need to do HERE. I’m not sure though, what do you think?

  13. Alma 34:32 says “this life is the time to prepare to meet God.” Maybe those who die before living much of a life do so because they are worthy and ready to die. Maybe there is some truth in the saying “only the good die young.” Is that answer sufficient or were you looking for something else, Kim?

  14. I think nermalcat hit it on the head back in comment 9. Life is a probationary state—in other words we’re on trial. Some defendants have long trials and some have short trials, just like in our imperfect justice systems. Why are some longer and some shorter? Probably because some have less to prove, having already proven much before coming, or being ready to prove much after leaving.

    Of course, God, who already knows all things from the beginning, doesn’t need to watch our trials in order to discover the outcomes. But because He is perfectly just, he does need to give us the true opportunity we need to pass through the trial each of us needs.

  15. Well, I am certain there are innumerable “purposes of life.” We are expected to, while in this life, gain knowledge and intelligence for the next life; we are here to gain a body; we are here to prepare to meet God again; and we are here to be tested. There are many reasons, I believe, to our coming to earth. And, sure, to gain experience is probably among them.

  16. ltbugaf, the point I was making in my post though is that some people die before ever getting a chance to prepare to meet God or to begin their trial.

    Sam, of all those you listed, I only see getting a body as being universal. Too many people die too young to or are born without the ability to gain knowledge, prepare to meet God, or to be tested.

  17. …some people die before ever getting a chance to prepare to meet God or to begin their trial.

    Isn’t that ignoring the life we had before coming to earth and the life that continues afterward? Joseph Smith seems to show us that we go through growth and progress in both of those states as well as in this mortal one. So it makes sense to me that some of us might have less need of earth time than others.

  18. I don’t think it’s correct. I don’t think God leaves most of us on earth for a long time for no reason. Even if some of us need practically no experience on earth, some others of us do. Gaining that experience is one of the purposes of our life here.

  19. Certainly it’s a purpose for some. Certainly some need to gain experience. But it does not seem to be a universal purpose like gaining a body is, so I do not see that we can call it a purpose of life in the same way we call gaining a body the purpose of life.

  20. I’ll assume that Kim is defining “Life” as mortal life here on this earth, specifically the time that begins at your mortal creation and ends at your mortal death.

    I’ll also assume that Kim is defining “Experience” as the common dictionary does, namely “the observing, encountering, or undergoing of things generally as they occur in the course of time: to learn from experience”

    Those being assumed, The primary purpose of life can only be to gain a mortal body.

    For the infant that dies one second before child birth, we could argue that said infant has not truly experienced anything of mortal life.

    Saying that life’s purpose is to gain experience is also saying that those with little or no experience have no purpose. If they have no purpose, their lives have no value.

    I recall the birth of my three children. I remember holding each of them moments after they were born. I remember the distinct feeling I had that their lives were of immeasurable importance and purpose, even with the lack of experience they had at the time.

    Life may have additional benefits, but the purpose is to aquire a mortal body. Nothing more.

    You could argue that certain individual lives have more purpose to them than others (i.e. Jesus Christ), but you cannot argue that for all life. It just doesn’t fit.

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