Our Heavenly Father has provided for us, His children, a plan intended to lead all of us to eternal happiness and exaltation. Central to His plan is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement overcomes the effects of the Fall and makes it possible for us to repent and be cleansed of our sins so that we might have joy in this life and in eternity.
This lesson will give you a brief overview of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. It can help you see how the gospel truths you will learn this year relate to one another and to your purpose on earth. As your understanding of the plan of salvation grows, your faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, will increase, as will your ability to fulfill your part in the plan. The plan of salvation is “the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, designed to bring about man’s immortality and eternal life. It includes the Creation, Fall, and Atonement, along with all God-given laws, ordinances, and doctrines. This plan makes it possible for all people to be exalted and live forever with God” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Plan of Redemption,” scriptures.lds.org).
The Plan Helps Us Understand Our Purpose in Mortality
Our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation answers many questions that most people have considered at some point in their lives. Have you ever pondered questions such as: “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” “Where do I go after this life?”
Before we were born on the earth, we lived in the presence of our Heavenly Father as His spirit children. We are literally His children, and He loves us. His plan of salvation is the way for each of us to become like He is and enjoy all of His blessings. We understood and accepted His plan before we came to earth.
The Book of Mormon plays a central role in our understanding the plan of salvation. Book of Mormon prophets used many different terms when referring to the plan.
Read the scriptures listed below, and identify the name used for Heavenly Father’s plan in each verse. In your scripture study journal, write the name next to the scripture reference. The first one is identified for you.
2 Nephi 9:6 “The merciful plan of the great Creator”
2 Nephi 11:5 __________________________________________________
Alma 12:25 __________________________________________________
Alma 24:14 __________________________________________________
Alma 42:8 __________________________________________________
Alma 42:15 __________________________________________________
Words such as merciful, deliverance, salvation, happiness, and redemption emphasize the doctrine that Heavenly Father’s plan is designed to bring His children eternal salvation and happiness.
Respond to the following question in your scripture study journal: How does knowing that Heavenly Father has a plan for your happiness and exaltation make a difference in your life?
The Role of Agency and the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Plan of Salvation
Adam and Eve were the first of Heavenly Father’s children to come to this earth. He placed them in the Garden of Eden and gave them their agency—“the ability and privilege … to choose and to act for themselves” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Agency,” scriptures.lds.org). He commanded them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Obeying this commandment meant that they would be able to 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.
Read 2 Nephi 2:17–20 and look for what happened to Adam and Eve after they chose to disobey God’s commandment. In the space provided, describe what Adam and Eve chose to do and two of the effects that choice—commonly referred to as the Fall—had on them: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Read 2 Nephi 2:22–26 and identify more of the consequences of the choice Adam and Eve made. Mark in your scriptures additional truths you learn about the effects of the Fall.
In your scripture study journal, finish the following paragraph by describing effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve on you personally. Include ideas about choices, agency, physical bodies, death, children, and sin.
“Because of Adam’s and Eve’s transgression, I am also in a fallen state and …”
The Role of Jesus Christ’s Atonement in the Plan of Salvation
Sin and death separate us from the presence of our Father in Heaven. We cannot return to God’s presence without divine help. We must understand the role of Jesus Christ and His Atonement in the plan of salvation so that we can have faith in Him and follow Heavenly Father’s plan. Study Mosiah 3:17–19, looking for phrases that describe how the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcomes the effects of the Fall and helps us gain happiness and return to our Heavenly Father. Summarize these verses in your own words: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
A principle we learn is: Jesus Christ is the central figure in the plan of salvation, and His Atonement is what makes the plan work for all of God’s children.
Read the following scripture passages: 2 Nephi 2:8; Mosiah 3:7–11; 16:4–8; Alma 34:9, 15–16; Mormon 9:13–14. In your scripture study journal, write a paragraph explaining what they teach about the central role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation. You may wish to underline phrases that are meaningful to you.
Our Responsibility in the Plan of Salvation
Heavenly Father has provided His perfect plan to bring about our eternal happiness and exaltation with Him and our loved ones. Jesus Christ has fulfilled His role in the plan, overcoming death and making it possible for us to overcome sin and return to live again with our Father in Heaven. However, this does not eliminate our responsibility in the plan.
In your scripture study journal, write Some of my responsibilities in the plan of salvation, and list what each of the following scriptures teaches about our personal responsibility to invite the power of the Atonement into our lives and fully partake of the blessings of the plan of salvation:
These scriptures can help us understand that as we choose to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and follow God’s plan, we prepare to receive eternal life through the Savior’s Atonement.
Suppose you were asked to give a talk in church about the plan of salvation. Using what you have learned from the scriptures in the above assignment, write in your scripture study journal what you would say about our personal responsibility in Heavenly Father’s plan.
Ponder what you could do to better fulfill your responsibility in Heavenly Father’s plan and to invite the Savior’s power into your life. Consider sharing your thoughts with one of your parents, a sibling, or a close friend.
The Plan of Salvation Provides Answers and Direction
An understanding of the plan of salvation can guide you when making decisions and finding answers to questions you or others may face.
In your scripture study journal, respond to one of the questions below by telling how understanding the plan of salvation provides guidance and answers:
How does knowing you are a literal son or daughter of God affect your feelings of self-worth?
How would you respond to someone who says, “It’s my life—I’ll do what I want to do”?
How could understanding the plan of salvation help someone overcome feelings that life is just about having fun and satisfying our own desires for pleasure?
How could you use your knowledge of the plan of salvation to help someone who is experiencing trials and feels it is because God doesn’t love him or her?
Understanding the plan of salvation can help you obey God’s commandments because it explains why we should obey them (see Alma 12:32).
Read 2 Nephi 2:25, and summarize the purpose of the plan of salvation by answering the following question in your scripture study journal: In what ways has the plan of salvation brought joy to you and to your family?
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied the “Plan of Salvation” lesson and completed it on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: