Lesson 30: The Plan of Salvation

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 105–8


Objective

To help each young man understand that our Father in Heaven has a plan that will help us return to live with him.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

    3. c.

      Road map.

  2. 2.

    Prepare signs and arrows to post in the following order:

    plan of salvation arrows

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Story

Read or tell the following story about Bishop H. Burke Peterson.

“My parents and grandparents were born and raised in Utah. However, my mother and father began their married life in Phoenix, Arizona. That is where my three brothers and I were raised. Almost every summer my father and mother would take all of us to Utah to get out of the Arizona heat and also to enjoy the association with our cousins and other relatives.

“… When I was old enough to work on a full-time basis, I had desires to go from Phoenix to Utah alone and spend the summer there working and earning money. This was to be during the summer vacation. One spring before school was out I asked my father if I could go to Salt Lake City to work and then return to Phoenix at the end of the summer to be with my family and begin school again. After thinking it over, my parents decided it would be fine. When school was out in May, Dad took me with him to the Continental Bus depot and, since I had no money of my own as yet, bought me a ticket to Salt Lake City. I was somewhat taken back when I found out that he had purchased for me a one-way ticket instead of a round trip. He said he would take the responsibility to see that I arrived in Salt Lake City but it would be up to me to do what was necessary while I was there to purchase the ticket for a return home to Phoenix at the end of the summer. As you can imagine, I was most anxious to come back home after my work experience as I had burning in my memory the happy experiences we had always enjoyed in our home. I enjoyed the association with and loved my three brothers and was most happy and comfortable being with my parents.

“When I arrived in Salt Lake City I immediately set about to find work. This I was able to accomplish, and as soon as my first paycheck was given to me, guess what I did. First I paid my tithing, and then I took the rest of the money to the bus depot downtown in Salt Lake City and purchased a return trip ticket to Phoenix. I wanted to be sure that when summer was over there would be nothing to stand in the way of my returning home. I loved my home very much. For the rest of the summer I was particularly mindful of taking good care of myself and doing everything necessary to insure my return home to Phoenix. More than anything else I wanted to enjoy again the experience of being with my family” (“Return Trip Ticket Home,” New Era, Apr. 1974, p. 5).

  • How did young Burke Peterson prepare himself so that he could return home? (He worked hard and earned enough money to buy a return ticket. He took good care of himself so he could return home.)

Adviser presentation

Explain that we all had a similar experience before we came to this earth. Our Father in Heaven explained to us about the earth that he had prepared. He taught us what would be expected of us if we chose to come here. He let us know that if we wanted to come to earth, he would ensure our mortal birth. Similar to Bishop Peterson’s boyhood experience, Heavenly Father provided each of us with a one-way ticket. Whether or not we return again to him depends upon what we do while we are here.

Map and discussion

Show the road map.

  • What is this? (A road map.)

  • Why do we use a map when we go on a journey? (It helps us reach our destination and return home without getting lost.)

Explain that life is like a journey. Heavenly Father knew we would need directions to find the way. Because of his great love for us, he gave us a plan that we can compare to a road map. If we follow this plan and have faith in Jesus Christ, we will return home to live with him.

  • Where can we learn about Heavenly Father’s plan? (From the prophets and scriptures.)

Display the scriptures.

  • How are the prophets and scriptures like a road map? (They give directions. They show us how we can get from one place to another.)

Pre-earth Life (Before Birth)

Scripture and discussion

Display the sign “Pre-earth Life.”

Have a young man read Abraham 3:22–28 while the others follow in their scriptures.

  • What does this scripture tell us about our pre-earth life?

As the young men respond, discuss the following points:

  1. 1.

    We lived with our Father in Heaven as his spirit children. This is known as our first estate.

  2. 2.

    We learned about Heavenly Father’s plan.

  3. 3.

    We wanted to go to earth, our second estate.

  4. 4.

    We wanted to prove ourselves worthy to return to him.

  5. 5.

    We chose to follow Jesus Christ instead of Satan.

  • What do you think our lives would be like if we had rejected Heavenly Father’s plan?

Help the young men realize that if we had rejected Heavenly Father’s plan, we would have failed to keep our first estate and would have become followers of Satan.

Have the young men mark these scriptures.

Tell them that since we chose to follow Christ, we were given the opportunity to leave our heavenly home and come to earth to live.

Post the arrow marked “Birth” and the sign marked “Earth Life.”

Earth Life (Mortality)

Discussion

  • How is earth life different from pre-earth life?

Bring out the following points:

  1. 1.

    We now have physical bodies (bodies of flesh and bone) in addition to our spirit bodies.

  2. 2.

    We are no longer in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

  • How is earth life similar to pre-earth life? Bring out the following points:

  1. 1.

    We are still free to choose to follow the Savior or Satan.

  2. 2.

    We can return to live with Heavenly Father if we continue to follow his teachings and have faith in Jesus Christ.

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men read again Abraham 3:25.

  • According to this scripture, why is earth life so important? (We are being tested to see if we will obey the Lord’s commandments.)

  • If we obey the commandments, what will happen?

Emphasize that this is the way we obtain our return ticket home to our Heavenly Father.

Spirit World (Life after Death)

Discussion

Post the arrow marked “Death.”

  • According to Heavenly Father’s plan, what happens to us when we die? (Our spirit bodies leave our physical bodies.)

  • What happens to our physical bodies? (They remain here on earth.)

  • What happens to our spirit bodies? (They go to the spirit world.)

Post the sign marked “Spirit World.”

Explain that we have the same spirit bodies now that we had before we were born on earth. We can think and act as we did then.

Scripture and discussion

To find out what will happen in the spirit world, have a young man read Alma 40:12 while the others follow along in their scriptures.

  • Who does Alma say will be happy? (The righteous, or those who have kept Heavenly Father’s commandments.)

  • What is the name of the place where righteous spirits go? (Paradise.)

Have the young men mark this scripture.

Read and discuss what happens to the spirits of the wicked according to Alma 40:13–14. Help the young men understand that whether people are happy or miserable in the spirit world depends upon what they do here on earth.

Have the young men mark this scripture.

Home with Heavenly Father

Scripture and discussion

Explain that after the spirit world comes the resurrection. Our spirit bodies and physical bodies will come together again, never to be separated.

Have a young man read 2 Corinthians 5:10.

  • What happens after we are resurrected? (We stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged.)

Post the sign marked “Resurrection and Judgment.”

Help the young men understand that at the judgment, Jesus will tell us if we have qualified to return to Heavenly Father. His decision will be based on how faithfully we have followed him in our second estate.

Explain that we cannot now fully understand how wonderful it will be to live with Heavenly Father forever.

Have a young man read 1 Corinthians 2:9 as the others follow along. Explain that the joy we will have if we return to live with Heavenly Father is greater than any happiness we can know on earth.

Have the young men mark this scripture.

Post the sign marked “Celestial Kingdom.”

Conclusion

Quotation

Read the following statement by Bishop H. Burke Peterson, which summarizes Heavenly Father’s plan and how we can return to our heavenly home.

“He [Heavenly Father] told us his hope was that we would do everything necessary to insure our return trip. When we were born on this earth, a veil was drawn that blotted out our memory of our previous existence, and thus we cannot remember what a completely happy experience that family relationship was. We are, therefore, being taught to live by faith. We are being taught to be obedient and develop the faith necessary to keep the commandments and live in a manner that will entitle us to that wonderful experience of an association with our heavenly brothers and sisters and parents again.

“In order to help us do the things that are right while we are having this earth-life experience (mortal), our Heavenly Father has organized his church on the earth. His church makes available to us all the teachings and ordinances that are necessary for those who wish to return again to him. If we will listen to our leaders and do the things they ask us to do, we can be assured of having enough purchasing power for a return ticket to our heavenly home when our work experience here is over” (“Return Trip Ticket Home,” p. 5).

Testimony

Bear testimony that becoming like Heavenly Father and living with him is worth all our efforts to obey the commandments.