The Great Plan of Salvation

The Great Plan of Salvation (for Heavenly Father’s Children)

We often face false philosophies of the world regarding the true purpose of our earthly existence. In the Church of Jesus Christ, we learn of God’s Great and Eternal Plan of Salvation and strive to understand the purpose of mortality and the role of our Heavenly Father’s plan to give direction and meaning to life. As we grow in our understanding of the plan of salvation, we will understand more clearly how tribulations, joy, work, study, and maintaining physical strength play an important part in our daily experiences.  When we follow the Savior’s example, we are happier and are better able to bless the lives of our families and those we serve.

Heavenly Principles we should learn and understand:

    • Heavenly Father prepared a plan of salvation that teaches us where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going after mortality.
    • Understanding our place in the plan of salvation helps us develop faith and find joy in a world with many inequities.
    • We can use our knowledge of the plan of salvation to help us in our earthly challenges.

Heavenly Father plan of salvation teaches us where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going after mortality. 

Scriptural References:

Three stages of existence: premortal life, mortal life, and postmortal life.

Premortal Life:
    • Heavenly Father is a celestial being with a glorified body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). He is the Father of our spirits (see Romans 8:16–17Hebrews 12:9). We lived with Him as spirit children (see Abraham 3:22–23).  In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated:

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. …

“In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).

    • Heavenly Father taught us His plan of salvation (see D&C 138:56). His plan allowed us to come to earth to gain a body and learn obedience (see Abraham 3:24–26).
    • The plan required a Savior and Redeemer; Jesus Christ was foreordained to be our Savior and Redeemer by Heavenly Father (see Moses 4:2Abraham 3:27).
    • We rejoiced as we began to understand Heavenly Father’s plan. (See Job 38:4–7.  Latter-day prophets have taught that verse 7 refers to the joy we felt in our premortal existence when we accepted the plan of salvation.  For example, see the statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Although our memory of it is withheld, before we came to this earth we lived in the presence of God, our Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. We shouted for joy when given the privilege of coming to this earth to receive a body and to move forward in God’s plan for our happiness. We knew that we would be tested here. Our determination was to live obediently to be able to return to be with our Father forever. Part of that testing here is to have so many seemingly interesting things to do that we can forget the main purposes for being here. Satan works very hard so that the essential things won’t happen.” (“Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer,” Ensign, May 1997, 53–54).

Mortal Life:
      • Being faithful in our premortal life was keeping our “first estate”; our “second estate” began with our mortal life (see Abraham 3:26).
      • Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, we entered mortality in a fallen state. The Fall and our mortal condition are necessary parts of the plan. (See 2 Nephi 2:22–25D&C 29:40Moses 5:10–11.)
      • Jesus Christ redeemed us from the Fall. Without His Atonement we could not be resurrected and would live as spirits in misery with Satan forever. (See 2 Nephi 2:269:6–10.)
      • Our experiences during mortality allow us to use our agency to make choices and experience their consequences (see 2 Nephi 2:11–13, 27Alma 34:32–34D&C 58:27–28).
      • Establishing and teaching eternal families is a focus of the plan of salvation (see D&C 93:40131:1–4138:47–48Moses 2:28).
      • Whatever knowledge and intelligence we gain during mortality through our diligence and obedience will rise with us in the Resurrection (see D&C 130:18–19).
Postmortal Life:
A Grand Three-Act Play

Consider the following comments from President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles given when he likened the plan of salvation to “a grand three-act play”:

      • Act 1, is entitled ‘Premortal Life.’ The scriptures describe it as our first estate (see Jude 1:6Abraham 3:26, 28).
      • Act 2, from birth to the time of resurrection, is the ‘Second Estate.’ And…
      • Act 3, is called ‘Life After Death’ or ‘Eternal Life.’

 “In mortality, we are like actors who enter a theater just as the curtain goes up on the second act. We have missed act 1. The production has many plots and subplots that interweave, making it difficult to figure out who relates to whom and what relates to what, who are the heroes and who are the villains. It is further complicated because we are not just spectators; we are members of the cast, on stage, in the middle of it all!

 “As part of the eternal plan, the memory of our premortal life, act 1, is covered with a veil. Since we enter mortality at the beginning of act 2 with no recollection of act 1, it is little wonder that it is difficult to understand what is going on.”  (President Boyd K. Packer, “The Play and the Plan” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, May 7, 1995], 2).

“We sometimes wonder: If the plan really is the great plan of happiness, why must we struggle to find fulness of it in mortal life?

“If you expect to find only ease and peace and bliss during act 2, you surely will be frustrated. You will understand little of what is going on and why things are permitted to be as they are.

“Remember this! The line ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ is never written into the second act. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved, and everything is put right. …

“Until you have a broad perspective of the eternal nature of this great drama, you won’t make much sense out of the inequities in life. Some are born with so little and others with so much. Some are born in poverty, with handicaps, with pain, with suffering. Some experience premature death, even innocent children. There are the brutal, unforgiving forces of nature and the brutality of man to man. …

“Do not suppose that God willingly causes that which, for his own purposes, he permits. When you know the plan and purpose of it all, even these things will manifest a loving Father in Heaven. Until you have a broad perspective of the eternal nature of this great drama, you won’t make much sense out of the inequities in life.” (President Boyd K. Packer, “The Play and the Plan,” 2).

We can use our knowledge of the plan of salvation to help us in our earthly challenges:

We developed talents and abilities in the premortal life and that knowledge of our premortal life should encourage continued faithfulness and development of our talents and abilities during mortality.

Seriously consider the following questions.
    • How does knowing that you were willing in your premortal life to submit to certain conditions on earth affect how you accept and deal with challenges?  And,
    • How can the knowledge that we developed various talents and abilities in our premortal life help motivate us to develop them in this life also?
    • What are your sincere thoughts?

And finally, please read and consider the following statements by former General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

We developed talents and abilities in the premortal life:

“In this prior life, this premortal existence, this preexistence, we developed various capacities and talents. Some developed them in one field and some in another. The most important of all fields was the field of spirituality—the ability, the talent, the capacity to recognize truth” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Making Your Calling and Election Sure” [Brigham Young University devotional, Mar. 25, 1969], speeches.byu.edu).

Consider these Final Questions and Thoughts!
    • Why do you think spirituality is “the most important of all fields?”
    • In what ways might spirituality affect our ability to understand temporal knowledge?

Knowledge and understanding of our premortal life should encourage continued faithfulness and development of our talents and abilities during mortality.  Several common temporal challenges experienced in mortality include for example: finding a job, having sufficient finances to meet basic needs, keeping good health, and understanding trials.  A firm foundation of “Spirituality” will build our strength to endure mortality.

“Agreeing to enter this second estate, therefore, was like agreeing in advance to anesthetic—the anesthetic of forgetfulness.  Doctors do not de-anesthetize a patient, in the midst of what was previously authorized, to ask him, again, if it should be continued.  We agreed to come here and to undergo certain experiences under certain conditions.” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Pre-mortality, a Glorious Reality,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 17).

 

 

 


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