Lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 4–7


Objective

Each young man will better understand the plan of salvation, which Heavenly Father has instituted for the glory and exaltation of man.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Job 38:7; Doctrine and Covenants 14:7; 27:15–18; 138:12–14, 20–21, 27, 30; Moses 1:39; and Abraham 3:24–28.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).

    2. b.

      Pencil for each young man.

    3. c.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  3. 3.

    Make each young man a copy of the chart “The Plan of Salvation” from the handout at the end of the lesson.

  4. 4.

    Show the videocassette Our Heavenly Father’s Plan (53031) if it is available in your area.

Note

You may need more than one week to present this lesson.

Suggested Lesson Development

Planning Is Essential for Success

Discussion

  • If you wanted to build a house, what would be the most important item you would need before you could begin construction? (A blueprint or plan for the construction.)

  • What would probably happen if you had no blueprint or plan?

Explain that just as we must have a plan for building a house, so we need a plan for our own lives. Planning is so important that Heavenly Father presented a specific plan for our lives before the earth was created.

  • What is the name of the plan our Heavenly Father presented to us? (The plan of salvation, or plan of redemption.)

Quotation

Read the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball:

“Before this earth was created the Lord made a blueprint, as any great contractor will do before constructing. He drew up the plans, wrote the specifications, and presented them. He outlined it and we were associated with him. … That assemblage included us all” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], p. 29).

Elements of the Plan of Salvation

Handout

Distribute a copy of “The Plan of Salvation” chart and a pencil to each young man. Explain that the blueprint for our Heavenly Father’s plan probably looked something like this. As you proceed with the discussion, have the young men give the correct names for the various parts of the plan and write their answers next to the correct number on the chart.

Following is a key for the chart:

  1. 1.

    Pre-earth life

  2. 2.

    Birth (veil)

  3. 3.

    Earth life

  4. 4.

    Death

  5. 5.

    Paradise

  6. 6.

    Prison

  7. 7.

    Resurrection and Judgment

  8. 8.

    Celestial glory

  9. 9.

    Terrestrial glory

  10. 10.

    Telestial glory

  11. 11.

    Sons of perdition

Scripture, discussion, and quotation

Refer to the appropriate part of the chart as you progress through the following discussion.

Have the young men read and mark Job 38:7. Point out that we are told that in our pre-earth life we shouted for joy when our Father presented this plan.

  • Why do you suppose we were so happy?

  • What was our next step? (Birth, which brought the loss of our pre-earth memory.)

Read the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball, and have the young men listen for the purposes of our earth life:

“We understood well before we came to this vale of tears that there would be sorrows, disappointments, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears; but in spite of all, we looked down and saw this earth being made ready for us, and we said in effect, Yes, Father, in spite of all those things I can see great blessings that could come to me; … in taking a body I can see that I will eventually become immortal like thee, that I might overcome the effects of sin and be perfected, and so I am anxious to go to the earth at the first opportunity. And so we came. There is a purpose in the building of this earth and in the creation of man, that he might have a place in which to live, to perfect himself, that he might become perfect and … raise himself, with the help of his Father, to godhood” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 31).

Scriptures and discussion

Read and discuss Abraham 3:24–28.

  • Why did we come to earth? (To obtain a physical body, partake of necessary ordinances, learn, strive for perfection, keep the commandments, and be tried and tested.)

  • What happens to a person when he or she dies? (The physical body is buried in the earth, and the spirit goes to the spirit world.)

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 138:12–14.

  • Which spirits go to paradise after death?

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 138:20–22.

  • Which spirits go to prison?

  • Do the spirits in prison have a chance to receive the gospel?

To answer this question, read Doctrine and Covenants 138:20, 27, and D&C 138:30.

  • After everyone has had an opportunity to accept and obey the gospel, what will happen? (We will be resurrected and judged.)

Quotation

Read the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball, and have the young men listen and define the terms resurrection and judgment.

“After a period of time there will be a literal resurrection, when this live and conscious spirit will return to the earth to take up its reconstructed and resurrected body, raised in the bloom of its greatest earthly perfection; and the soul, composed of the resurrected body and the eternal spirit, will be ready for its next experience and every soul will come before the great judge to receive its final assignment for the eternity. Every soul that has been born will also be redeemed in the flesh and come forth in the resurrection before his maker for judgment ‘to be judged out of the records according to their works’ of life” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 46).

  • What will happen in the Resurrection? (The spirit and body will be reunited, never again to be separated.)

  • What is meant by judgment? (We receive our final assignment for eternity according to the records of our works.)

Group scripture reports

In order to discuss the aspects of life after the judgment, divide the young men into four groups. Refer them to the scriptures listed at the bottom of the “Plan of Salvation” chart, and assign each group one of the four sets of scriptures. Allow enough time for the young men to read the scriptures and prepare a brief oral report on the characteristics of those of the different glories. Have the groups report to the other young men in the following order: (1) the sons of perdition, (2) telestial glory, (3) terrestrial glory, and (4) celestial glory. Encourage the young men to mark meaningful scriptures.

The Plan of Salvation Is for Our Glory and Exaltation

Scripture, quotation, and discussion

  • What is the purpose of the plan of salvation?

Have a young man read Moses 1:39.

  • What do immortality and eternal life mean? (Immortality means living forever, and eternal life means becoming like Heavenly Father and living with him forever.)

Share the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball. As the young men listen, have each one think about his own potential.

“You have the great powers of thinking and the ability to plan and organize and love. All these powers that were given to you were given for the purpose that you someday might become like your Father in Heaven. That is the possibility, and if you do not become that, it is your fault totally.

“You could be the queen of Holland, the czar of Russia, or the emperor of Japan. You could be any great person in this world, but you would be a pygmy compared to what you can be in this Church. Every one of you can be … a king who will not lose his sceptre when he dies. Every one of you! Not just the smartest of you, but every one of you can become a queen or a king and have princes and princesses of your own. It all depends on what you do.

“If you can think of the greatest real joys that have ever come to you in this life, then think of the next life as a projection of this one with all the purposeful things multiplied, enlarged, and even more desirable. All in these associations of our lives here have brought to you development and joy and growth and happiness. Now, when life ends, we shall return to a situation patterned after our life here, only less limited, more glorious, more increased joys” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 52).

Scriptures and discussion

Read and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 14:7.

  • What must we do to gain eternal life?

  • What are some of the things we have been commanded to do?

Read and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 27:15–18.

  • What can we do to obey the commandments and resist temptations?

  • What blessings do we receive now when we obey the commandments? (Emphasize that the Lord wants to bless us now as well as in the eternities.)

Conclusion

Testimony and challenge

Bear testimony of the purpose of the plan of salvation and the blessings of exaltation. Challenge each young man to live so that he can partake of all that Heavenly Father has and become like Him.