When the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the Earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, one of the most beautiful truths that was also restored was the Plan of Salvation. Sometimes referred to as "the Plan of Happiness" this wonderful plan set by our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ illustrates our purpose in life, and what we can expect in the the life after this one. As disciples of Christ, we often have opportunities to explain our beliefs and what we hope for when we talk about the life after this one. On LDS Bookstore, we have beautifully crafted Plan of Salvation Teaching Kits that can make explaining the concepts and truths of the Father's Plan more interactive and simple. Click here to see more of our teaching kits! Here are the principles of the Plan of Salvation.
Premortal Life: God's Purpose and Plan for Us
God is the Father of our spirits and we are His children. He loves us. We lived as His spirit children before we were born on this earth. We were not, however, like our Heavenly Father, nor could we ever become like Him and enjoy all the blessings that He enjoys without the experience of living in mortality with a physical body.
God’s whole purpose—His work and His glory—is to enable each of us to enjoy all His blessings. He has provided a perfect plan to accomplish His purpose. We understood and accepted this plan before we came to the earth. In the scriptures God’s plan is called a merciful plan, the plan of happiness, the plan of redemption, and the plan of salvation.
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." - John 17:3
Under the direction of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for us to live and experience joy. In order to progress and become like God, each of us had to obtain a body and be tested during a time of probation on the earth. While on the earth we are out of God’s physical presence. We do not remember our premortal life. When we exercise faith, we draw closer to our Father in Heaven.
"Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it." - 1 Nephi 17:36
Agency and the Fall of Adam and Eve
In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve their agency. He commanded them not to eat the forbidden fruit, or the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Obeying this commandment meant that they could remain in the garden, but they could not progress by experiencing opposition in mortality. They could not know joy because they could not experience sorrow and pain.
The fall of Adam and Eve made it possible for them to learn and progress. It also made it possible for them to make wrong choices and to sin. In addition, they could now have children, so the rest of God’s spirit children could come to earth, obtain physical bodies, and be tested, creating this wonderful life all have the gift to experience.
"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." - 2 Nephi 2:25
Our Life on Earth
While we are in mortality, we have experiences that bring us happiness. We also have experiences that bring us pain and sorrow, some of which is caused by the sinful acts of others. These experiences provide us opportunities to learn and to grow, to distinguish good from evil, and to make choices. God influences us to do good; Satan tempts us to commit sin. As with physical death, we cannot overcome the effects of sin by ourselves. We are helpless without the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15
The Atonement of Jesus Christ
God sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to overcome the obstacle of sin in addition to the obstacle of physical death. We are not responsible for the Fall of Adam and Eve, but we are responsible for our own sins. God cannot look on sin with any degree of allowance, and sin prevents us from living in His presence. Only through the Savior’s grace and mercy can we become clean from sin so that we can live with God again. This is possible through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
"And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else." - Alma 11:40
The Spirit World
Eventually, all people must die, as this is the process by which we are transformed from mortality to immortality. At death our spirits go to the spirit world. Death does not change our personality or our desires for good or evil. Those who chose to obey God in this life live in a state of happiness, peace, and rest from troubles and care. Those who chose not to obey in this life and did not repent live in a state of unhappiness. In the spirit world the gospel is preached to those who did not obey the gospel or have the opportunity to hear it while on earth. We remain in the spirit world until we are resurrected.
"Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life." - Alma 40:11
The Resurrection, Salvation, and Exaltation
When our bodies and spirits are reunited through the Resurrection, we will be brought into God’s presence to be judged. We will remember perfectly our righteousness and our guilt. If we have repented, we will receive mercy. We will be rewarded according to our works and our desires.
"And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God." - Doctrine and Covenants 14:7
Judgment and Kingdoms of Glory
During our mortal lives we make choices regarding good and evil. God rewards us according to our works and desires. Because God rewards everyone according to their desires and their deeds done on earth, there are different kingdoms of glory to which we may be assigned after the Judgment.
Those who have repented of their sins, received the ordinances of the gospel, and kept the associated covenants will be cleansed by the Atonement of Christ. They will be saved in the celestial kingdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 137:10). In the scriptures this kingdom is compared to the glory or brightness of the sun.
People who do not accept the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this life or in the world to come but live honorable lives will receive a place in the terrestrial kingdom. This kingdom is compared to the glory of the moon (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:71–80).
Those who continued in their sins and did not repent in this life or accept the gospel in the world to come will receive their reward in the lowest kingdom, which is called the telestial kingdom. This kingdom is compared to the glory of the stars (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:81–86).
Our Plan of Salvation Teaching Kits are fun and inspiring way to teach these eternal principles in an easy to understand way. Your little ones will love the fun pieces, and the beauty of the Plan of Salvation can be easily taught to those close to you. Click the link here to purchase yours.