The Pearl of Great Price is a small book of scripture used by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It contains a variety of scriptures, including some ancient records from Abraham and Moses.
Abraham was shown a vision in which he learned that God created the Earth and was the most intelligent of all beings. He organized intelligences into spirits who lived with Him for a while, learning the gospel and developing personalities. Just as it happened here on earth, some chose to be obedient and great and some did not. God surveyed His children and noted that there were some who were truly great and who could be trusted to be loyal followers of the gospel in mortality. Abraham learned that he was one of those. The Bible tells us of another who was also identified as great before his birth.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jeremiah 1:5).
God chose among these great ones those who would serve him in important positions after their births, placing them when and where they were needed. They had proven they would never turn away, even when they left home.
Abraham then learned that the formation of Earth was planned long before the creation and that Jesus Christ was chosen to play a critical role in this creation:
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever. (Abraham 3)
The purpose of life, as this revelation shows, is to test us to see if we can keep the commandments when we are away from God. Just as children who grow up and leave home make new decisions about how and why to live, we had to leave our Heavenly home to find out how we would choose to live away from God’s presence.
Our time on Earth gives us a body which will be ours to keep in a perfected form after we die. When Jesus died, He instructed Mary not to touch Him because He hadn’t yet gone home to God, but was about to do so. When he returned, the disciples were able to touch Him because He had been given His body again, which, naturally, He kept forever.
It also allows us to gain a family through birth or adoption, and through marriage, and then to keep that family for eternity if we are willing to live the gospel. Mortality is a time to learn how to seek God and to gain faith in Him. Then it is a time to develop self-mastery and to put aside temporal, worldly pleasures in favor of achieving long-range blessings.
The Pearl of Great Price outlines the purpose of life in a unique and clearly understood manner. With its insights into eternity, we can find comfort, reassurance, and eternal blessings.