27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. 2 Nephi 2:27
This scripture highlights a critical gospel principle as it relates to the plan of happiness. It answers the age-old question of “Why am I here?”. Why are we here? We are here to choose liberty and eternal life, or to choose captivity and death. That is it. That is all there is to it. Other Book of Mormon prophets called this the way of life and death. There is no more simple doctrine than that. That is the great mystery that philosophers and gurus on the tops of mountains have been pondering for centuries.
The phrase “all things are given them which are expedient unto man” is very enlightening when you think about it in terms of the way of life and death. Consider the thought that your Heavenly Father loves you. If you believe this is true, then the follow-on thought would be that if he loves me, he would want me to return to live with him. As a loving Father, he has given us everything we need (all things) that are necessary for us to return to him. In his infinite love he provided us a Savior, but before that, he provided us a place where we could come and find out for ourselves if we want to return to him (choose the way of life) or if we want to choose the captivity of the devil.
This is the grand purpose of life. We came here to find out for ourselves if we love God more than we love evil. We were put in a situation where we had a perfectly level playing field. We have all we need to demonstrate to ourselves what we are made of. Every day that is what we are doing. We are choosing what we want to be, who we want to follow, and where we want to live after this life. Choose wisely.
The Father’s plan is designed to provide direction for His children, to help them become happy, and to bring them safely home to Him with resurrected, exalted bodies. Heavenly Father desires us to be together in the light and filled with hope. In contrast, Lucifer labors to make the sons and daughters of God confused and unhappy and to hinder their eternal progression. The overarching intent of the father of lies is that all of us would become “miserable like unto himself” 2 Nephi 2:27 Lucifer wants us ultimately to be alone in the dark and without hope. (David A. Bednar, “We believe in being chaste”, April 2013 General Conference)
Alma 21:31 The fall of Adam placed us in a state where we could act and not be acted upon.
2 Nephi 10:23 Free to choose the way of life or the way of death
3 Nephi 27:33 Narrow is the way that leads to life, broad is the way that leads to death