In 1993 Elder Boyd K. Packer, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told teachers in the Church Educational System that along with a brief overview of the subject to be studied they should give an overview of the plan of salvation at the beginning of every school year:
“A brief overview of the ‘plan of happiness’ (which is my choice, my favorite title, in talking of the plan), if given at the very beginning and revisited occasionally, will be of immense value to your students.
“I have an assignment for you. … You are assigned to prepare a brief synopsis or overview of the plan of happiness—the plan of salvation. Design it as a framework on which your students can organize the truths you will share with them.
“At first you may think that a simple assignment. I assure you, it is not. Brevity and simplicity are remarkably difficult to achieve. At first you will be tempted to include too much. The plan in its fulness encompasses every gospel truth. …
“This may be the most difficult, and surely the most rewarding, assignment of your teaching career.
“Your overview of the plan of happiness should be but a sweeping glance across the unfolded scroll of scriptural truths. Your students can thereafter locate themselves in respect to the plan. …
“I will give you the barest outline of the plan as a beginning, but you must assemble your framework yourself.
“The essential components of the great plan of happiness, of redemption, of salvation, are these:
War in heaven
The Fall and mortality
Principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ (first principles: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, …)
Life beyond the grave
Resurrection” (The Great Plan of Happiness, 2–3).
The following information is included to help you further understand that great plan of happiness and develop your overview. You may be tempted to teach more about the plan of salvation than the brief overview Elder Packer recommended. Please resist that temptation, keeping in mind that many of the details of the plan will be discussed in the course of your study of the Old Testament. Throughout this manual are teaching suggestions that will help you connect what is being studied in the Old Testament to your overview of the plan of salvation.
The Plan of Salvation Is Like a Three-Act Play
In a 1995 fireside address to young adults, President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:
“The course of our mortal life, from birth to death, conforms to eternal law and follows a plan described in the revelations as the great plan of happiness. The one idea, the one truth I would inject into your minds, is this: There are three parts to the plan. You are in the second or the middle part, the one in which you will be tested by temptation, by trials, perhaps by tragedy. Understand that and you will be better able to make sense of life and to resist the disease of doubt and despair and depression.
“The plan of redemption, with its three divisions, might be likened to a grand three-act play. Act 1 is entitled ‘Premortal Life.’ The scriptures describe it as our first estate (see Jude 1:6; Abraham 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!” (The Play and the Plan [address to young adults, 7 May 1995], 1–2).
Before our mortal birth we lived with our Heavenly Father (see Job 38:4–7; Jeremiah 1:5; Abraham 3:21–23). Heavenly Father is a glorified, perfected, celestial being with a body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345).
Heavenly Father is the father of our spirit bodies (see Numbers 16:22; Acts 17:29; Hebrews 12:9; Moses 3:5). He possesses a fulness of all godly attributes and joy and He desires that His children become like Him (see Matthew 5:48; 2 Nephi 9:18; Moses 1:39).
Abraham saw that all of Heavenly Father’s children were “intelligences” that were organized before the world was (see Abraham 3:18–23). President Boyd K. Packer taught: “The spirits of men and women are eternal (see D&C 93:29–31; see also Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith … , 158, 208). All are sons and daughters of God and lived in a premortal life as his spirit children (see Numbers 16:22; Hebrews 12:9; D&C 76:24). The spirit of each individual is in the likeness of the person in mortality, male and female (see D&C 77:2; 132:63; Moses 6:9–10; Abraham 4:27). All are in the image of heavenly parents” (The Play and the Plan, 3).
In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency 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. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102; see also D&C 29:31–32; Moses 3:5; and
“1. All beings are subject to divine law, obedience to which brings blessings. Disobedience results in suffering and damnation.
“2. Each person has the divine gift of agency to choose good or evil. A person may worship how, where, or what he or she may, but only by learning and obeying celestial laws can he or she be exalted.
“3. Each person can choose and act for him- or herself only as he or she gains knowledge of good and evil and is influenced by one or the other” (“Basic Doctrine,” Charge to Religious Educators, 3rd ed. , 85).
The proper exercise of our moral agency is essential to becoming like God (see 2 Nephi 2:14–16). There are, however, some consequences to granting mankind the opportunity to choose. As essential as agency is to our growth, it was inevitable that we would not always choose correctly. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Agency alone would only condemn us. This consequence was anticipated and provided for in the plan the Father presented to His children in a premortal council.
The Grand Council and the War in Heaven
After our Heavenly Father provided us with spirit bodies in that premortal world, we were more like Him, but we still lacked many essential attributes. He is an exalted and perfected being with a glorified physical body; we were not. The Father called His children together in a grand council in heaven and presented His plan for helping us become like Him (see Moses 4:1–4; Abraham 3:22–27).
President Boyd K. Packer said:
“In the council of the Gods, the plan of the Eternal Father was sustained (see Alma 34:9; see also Teachings [of the Prophet Joseph Smith], 349–50). The plan provided for the creation of an earth whereupon his children would receive physical bodies and would be tested according to his commandments (see Moses 6:3–10, 22, 59; Abraham 3:24–25; 4:26–27). Each spirit in premortal life was provided opportunities for learning and obedience. Each was given agency (see Alma 13:3–5).
“A grand council in heaven was convened (see Teachings, 349–50, 357). The divine plan required one to be sent as a savior and redeemer to fulfill the plan of the Father. The Firstborn of the Eternal Father, Jehovah, willingly volunteered and was chosen (see Moses 4:1–2; Abraham 3:19, 22–27).
“Most sustained this choice. Others rebelled, and there was a war in heaven. Satan and those who followed him in rebellion against the Father’s plan were cast out and denied mortality (see Revelation 12:7–13; D&C 29:36; 76:28; Moses 4:3).
“Those who kept the first estate (you are among them) were to be added upon with a physical body and were permitted to live upon the earth in this planned second estate (see Abraham 3:26). Each was appointed the times and the bounds of his or her habitation (see Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26). Some were foreordained to be prophets (see Alma 13:7–9; Abraham 3:23; see also Teachings, 365)” (The Play and the Plan, 3; see also Bible Dictionary, “War in Heaven,” p. 788).
The physical creation of the heavens, the earth, and all things thereon was another essential step in helping us become like our Father in Heaven (see Moses 1:33–39; Abraham 3:24–26). When God created the earth it was “very good” (Moses 2:31) and a place of beauty and abundance (see Genesis 1–2; Moses 2; 3:7–25; Abraham 4–5; see also D&C 59:16–20;
President Boyd K. Packer taught: “An earth was then organized (see Abraham 5:4). Adam and Eve, in a paradisiacal state, were the first man and first woman (see Moses 1:34; 3:7; 4:26; 6:3–10, 22, 59). They were married eternally and were given commandments (see Moses 3:23–25). They were in a state of innocence and knew no sin (see 2 Nephi 2:23)” (The Play and the Plan, 3).
The Fall and Mortality
The Fall of Adam and Eve was the next step in the great plan of happiness. The Fall brought about the conditions of mortality, including spiritual and physical death (see 2 Nephi 2:19–25; Alma 42:1–10). Mortal life on earth is essential to becoming like God. It provides us with the opportunity to gain a physical body and to be able to continue to grow and learn by having the freedom to choose to follow the counsel of God or the enticements of Satan (see Alma 42:1–12; D&C 29:36–43; Moses 5:9–12). It is by the choices we make that we “prove” ourselves (see Abraham 3:25; see also
Referring to his metaphor of life as a three-act play (see p. 13), President Boyd K. Packer gave the following counsel about our mortal condition:
“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.
“That loss of memory gives us a clean start. It is ideal for the test; it secures our individual agency and leaves us free to make choices. Many choices must be made on faith alone. Even so, we carry with us some whispered knowledge of our premortal life and our status as offspring of immortal parents.
“You were born in innocence, for ‘every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning’ (D&C 93:38), and you have an inborn sense of right and wrong, for the scriptures tell us in the Book of Mormon that we ‘are instructed sufficiently that [we] know good from evil’ (2 Nephi 2:5). …
“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. We have seen a lot of that recently.
“Do not suppose that God willfully 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.
“There exists something of a script for this great play, the drama of the ages. …
“That script, as you should already know, is the scriptures—the revelations. Read them. Study them. …
“The scriptures speak the truth. From them you can learn enough about all three acts to get your bearings and get direction in your life. They reveal that ‘ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
“‘And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come’ (D&C 93:23–24).
“Act 1, act 2, and act 3” (The Play and the Plan, 2).
The Mission of the Church and the Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel
The Fall of Adam and Eve was not a mistake or a surprise. Had they not chosen to become mortal, neither they nor the rest of Heavenly Father’s children could progress to become like God (see 2 Nephi 2:22–25). The Fall was a necessary part of the plan, but there are some negative consequences from which we need to be saved (see the commentary for Genesis 3:19 in
The gospel of Jesus Christ provides a way for all mankind to be redeemed from the Fall and brought back into the presence of God (see 2 Nephi 31:10–21; Mosiah 3:19; Alma 7:14–16; 3 Nephi 27:13–22; Articles of Faith 1:4; see also the commentary for Genesis 4:1 in
In every dispensation, prophets have been sent to teach the gospel to God’s children on earth. The Church of Jesus Christ has been established in these latter days to invite all to come unto Christ by proclaiming the gospel to the world, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead (see Amos 3:7; Ephesians 4:11–15; D&C 1:4–23; 138; Articles of Faith 1:5–6).
Because of the Fall of Adam we will all die (physical death), we are all cut off from the presence of God (spiritual death) and cannot get back to Him on our own, and we live in a world of toil, sin, and sorrow. The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides for the resurrection of all mankind, with immortal physical bodies, thus overcoming physical death. Through the Atonement we can also be cleansed from personal sins and changed from our fallen condition to become like God, overcoming spiritual death (see 2 Nephi 2:5–10; 9:4–14, 19–27; Alma 7:11–13; 12:32–34; 34:8–16; 42:11–28; D&C 19:16–19; Articles of Faith 1:3; see also “The Grand Council and the War in Heaven,” p. 14).
No ordinary person could have brought about the Resurrection and atoned for the sins of all mankind. Only one who had power over death and the power of a sinless life could have done so. In short, it required the sacrifice of a God (see John 10:17–18; Alma 34:9–14; D&C 45:4).
Life beyond the Grave
The Spirit World
Physical death is the separation of the body and the spirit. At death the spirits of all of Heavenly Father’s children go to a spirit world to await the Resurrection. In the spirit world there is a separation between those who accepted the gospel and kept the commandments and those who did not. As President Boyd K. Packer explained, “It is happiness, a paradise, for the righteous. It is misery for the wicked (see 2 Nephi 9:10–16; Alma 40:7–14). In either state, we continue to learn and are accountable for our actions (see D&C 138:10–22)” (The Play and the Plan, 3). For more information about the spirit world, see Doctrine and Covenants 138—President Joseph F. Smith’s account of the remarkable vision given to him of the work that goes on in the spirit world.
When the Father presented His plan and the creation of an earth was proposed, the expressed purpose was to “prove” His children to see if they would keep His commandments (see Abraham 3:25). Through the Prophet Joseph it was revealed that we will be judged not only on the basis of what we do but also by what we desire in our hearts (see Alma 41:3–6; D&C 137:9).
The Judgment and the Resurrection are closely intertwined, and part of our final judgment will take place as we are resurrected. All will come forth in the Resurrection with perfect bodies, but they will differ in glory. They will be raised with a body appropriate to the kingdom they will inherit, be that celestial, terrestrial, or telestial. Sons of perdition will be resurrected but will not be given any degree of glory; they will be cast out into outer darkness (see 1 Corinthians 15:35, 39–42; D&C 88:28–32).
President Boyd K. Packer said:
“After all have been dealt with equally, a judgment will be rendered (see Mosiah 3:18; see also Teachings, 218–19). Each will be resurrected in his or her own order (see 1 Corinthians 15:21–23). The glory one receives, however, will depend on obedience to the laws and ordinances of our Father’s plan (see 1 Corinthians 15:40–42).
“Those who have become pure through repentance will obtain eternal life and return to the presence of God. They will be exalted as ‘heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ’ (Romans 8:17; see also D&C 76:94–95; 84:35; 132:19–20; see also Teachings, 374).
“Provision is made in the plan for those who live in mortality without knowing of the plan: ‘Where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation … because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him’ (2 Nephi 9:25).
“Without that sacred work of the redemption of the dead, the plan would be incomplete and would really be unfair. The ordinances of the temple—the endowments, the sealing in eternal marriage—are worth all the preparation required. Do not do anything that may make you unworthy to receive them or act 3 of this eternal drama will be less than you are now free to make it” (The Play and the Plan, 3–4).
Everyone who has ever lived on this earth, righteous or not, will be resurrected with an immortal physical body. This is a gift because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:19–22; 2 Nephi 9:6–15, 19–22). Not all are resurrected at the same time, “but every man in his own order” (1 Corinthians 15:23; see also Mosiah 15:20–26; Alma 40:1–2; D&C 76:15–17).
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
Our mortal life is designed to help us gain godly attributes. It provides us with the opportunity to gain a physical body and learn the lessons of godhood by having the freedom to choose to follow the counsel of God or the enticements of Satan (see Genesis 2:16–17; 2 Nephi 2:25–27; Alma 34:32–34).
The Creation of the earth and the Fall of Adam brought about the necessary conditions of mortality, including spiritual and physical death and a world where there is toil, pain, and sorrow (see Genesis 2:17; 3:6–7; 2 Nephi 2:15–25).
The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides for the Resurrection so that everyone will receive an immortal physical body (see Job 19:25–27; Ezekiel 37:12–14; Alma 11:42–45). The Atonement can also cleanse us from personal sins and help us become like God (see Isaiah 1:18; Mosiah 3:19; Moroni 10:32–33).
In every dispensation, Jesus Christ has sent prophets to teach His gospel to God’s children on earth. The Church of Jesus Christ has been established in these latter days to invite all to come unto Christ and partake in His plan of happiness (see Amos 3:7; Alma 12:32–34; D&C 1:1–14).
Suggestions for Teaching
Old Testament Video presentation 4, “The Plan of Salvation” (7:35), can be used in teaching your plan of salvation overview (see Old Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions). It should not take the place of classroom discussion because it only briefly deals with premortal and postmortal life. Old Testament Symposium 1995 Resource Videocassette presentation 3, “Children of Israel” (8:45), can also be used in teaching the plan of salvation.
Note: Choose from the ideas under this heading, or use some of your own. The four teaching suggestions for the plan of salvation overview will be the same for each of the four scripture courses. It is recommended that you teach a different one to your students each year. Since you will be teaching about the Creation, Fall, and Atonement later in the school year, you may want to preview those lessons so you can build on and not simply repeat what you teach in your overview.
Plan of Salvation Overview: Suggestion 1 (90–120 minutes)
Help the students visualize the plan of salvation (the plan of happiness) by stretching a string from one wall of your classroom to the other. Hang a paper clip over the string so that it can easily slide along the string. Prepare two identical figures, one of clear plastic and another of white paper, that can be attached to the paper clip.
Tell students that the string represents the line of our lives and that one end of the string represents our past and the other our future. The clear plastic figure represents our spirit body, and the white paper figure represents our physical body. Move the paper clip along the string and add the figures to it as you discuss our progression from premortal past to postmortal future. When you discuss death, separate the clear plastic figure from the white paper one. Ask questions such as those listed in the following sections as you teach the plan of happiness, and use the information in the appendix as needed. It is usually preferable to let the students discover as many of the answers as they can by letting them search the suggested scripture references.
Where does the life line begin and end? (Explain that the line of our lives actually extends beyond the walls of the room and continues forever in both directions. Our lives did not have a beginning, and they will have no end. See D&C 93:29; Abraham 3:18; “Spiritual Creation,” p. 13.)
What do you know about your Father in Heaven and your life with Him before you were born on earth? (see “Premortal Existence,” p. 13).
What does it mean to be a spirit child of God? (see “Premortal Existence,” “Spiritual Creation,” p. 13).
Since we lived with Heavenly Father in the premortal world and we were immortal, why didn’t we stay there? (see “Agency,” “The Grand Council and the War in Heaven,” p. 14).
Why do you think the Lord prizes the freedom to choose (agency) so much that He would allow Lucifer and his followers to rebel and start a war in heaven? (see “Agency,” p. 14).
Since Satan will eventually be cast into outer darkness, why did God allow him and his followers to come to earth and tempt us? (see D&C 29:39).
Why was it necessary for us to come to a physical earth and get a physical body? (see D&C 93:33–34; Moses 1:39; “The Grand Council and the War in Heaven,” “Physical Creation,” p. 14).
Why was a Redeemer chosen even in premortality? What would result if there were no Redeemer? (see 2 Nephi 9:7–10; Moses 4:1–4; Abraham 3:27–28; “The Grand Council and the War in Heaven,” p. 14; “The Atonement,” p. 15).
Why did Jehovah (Jesus Christ) need to come to earth and receive a mortal body? (see “The Atonement,” p. 15).
What is the difference between physical death and spiritual death? How are we rescued from each one? What is our part in overcoming spiritual death? (see 2 Nephi 9:6–23; Alma 40:11–14; D&C 29:40–44; “The Mission of the Church and the Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel,” “The Atonement,” and “The Spirit World,” p. 15).
What is our ultimate destiny and what can we become if we follow the “great plan of happiness”? (see D&C 76:50–70).
Consider leaving the string up for a time and referring to it as needed to help students see how the truths they are learning fit into the plan.
Ask students how a knowledge of the plan helps them understand why the Lord commands certain things and forbids others.
Share your testimony of the beauty of the plan and the importance of remembering why we are here and what the Lord has done to help us return to Him.
Plan of Salvation Overview: Suggestion 2 (90–100 minutes)
A diagram such as the one below can be used to teach the plan of salvation. This method is good for teaching the plan visually but does not teach the chronology as well as suggestion 1.
Ask questions such as those listed in suggestion 1 as you draw the diagram on the board (or you could use a handout) and discuss the elements of the plan of salvation. Draw arrows to indicate our progression through the stages of our existence, according to the plan. Where possible, let the students discover the answers to the questions by searching the suggested scripture references. Consider displaying the chart in the classroom so you can refer to it throughout the year.
Plan of Salvation Overview: Suggestion 3 (60–70 minutes)
A simple yet effective way to review the plan of salvation that emphasizes the importance of mortality is to use an illustration of a bridge. Draw the accompanying diagram on the board or on a poster. Leave the labels off at first and write them in as your students discover the elements of the plan as you study the scriptures together.
Show students the bridge and ask: What purpose does a bridge serve that a road alone cannot? (It helps you cross a canyon or gap.) Read Abraham 3:22 with your students and help them understand where we were before we came to earth. Then read Moses 1:39 to help them understand what Heavenly Father is seeking to bring to pass, or where He wants to take us. (Immortality means to live forever as resurrected beings; eternal life means to be with God and be like Him;
Why were we encouraged to leave the premortal world and come to this earth?
What “gap” or “canyon” (what differences) existed between Heavenly Father and us when we lived with Him as His spirit children?
Help students discover that although we lived with Heavenly Father and were His children, in many ways we were not yet like Him (see 3 Nephi 12:48; D&C 76:70; 88:41; 130:22; “Premortal Existence,” p. 13).
Tell students that the pillars supporting the bridge represent what Heavenly Father has brought about to help us become like Him, and the span on top of the pillars represents what we are to do. Have your students read Abraham 3:24–27 to find what Heavenly Father did for us; then discuss why that was necessary (see “Agency,” “The Grand Council and the War in Heaven,” “Physical Creation,” p. 14). Write The Creation on the first pillar.
What do you think the second pillar represents?
Write The Fall on the second pillar and discuss briefly how the Fall brought opposition, sin, and death into the world.
Ask students: What would happen to us physically and spiritually if everything remained in a fallen condition? Read 2 Nephi 9:6–10 and discuss what God did to help us overcome the effects of the Fall (see “The Atonement,” p. 15). Ask what the third pillar represents and label it The Atonement of Jesus Christ. Ask:
Why can Jesus Christ promise to redeem us from our sins?
On what conditions can we be forgiven of our sins and bring about the plan of redemption in our lives? (see Alma 42:9–15).
Have students read Helaman 14:15–17, and ask: What blessings of the Atonement are given to all mankind regardless of how they live? (The Resurrection and being brought back into God’s presence for judgment.) There are other blessings that are given only to those who earnestly seek them and live by His gospel. Have students read Articles of Faith 1:3–4 and list the first things God requires us to do to be forgiven of our own sins and to be perfected (see also “The Mission of the Church and the Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel,” p. 15).
Finish labeling the bridge as in the diagram and ask students how understanding the plan of salvation helps them understand why we are commanded to do some things and forbidden to do others.
Read Elder Boyd K. Packer’s statement in “Judgment” (p. 16) and share your testimony of the “great plan of happiness” that Heavenly Father has prepared for His children.
Plan of Salvation Overview: Suggestion 4 (40–45 minutes)
Prepare the accompanying diagram as a handout for each student or as an overhead transparency. Review with students that we once lived in the presence of God (see “Premortal Existence,” p. 13) and the circumstances that brought us to our fallen condition (see “The Fall and Mortality,” p. 14).
Where does the strait and narrow path lead?
What has our Heavenly Father given us to help us stay faithfully on the path?
Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Orson F. Whitney, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, to help them understand the seriousness of our fallen condition and the only way we can be freed from it:
“When Adam fell, it was as if the human race had fallen into a pit, from which they were powerless, by any act of their own, to emerge; having no means whereby to climb up and out, and not even knowing how to climb. But a Friend, all-wise and all-powerful, comes to the mouth of the pit … and proposes to rescue them from their unhappy situation. He makes of his own life a ladder; lets it down into the pit and says: ‘Now climb!’ They who climb, get out of the pit. They who refuse to climb, remain in the pit—and who is to blame but themselves?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1927, 149).
Have students, individually or in groups, study the following questions to help them discover how the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the principles and ordinances of the gospel provide the way for us to overcome our fallen condition:
What is the path that leads us out of our fallen condition? What are the first steps we must take to get on that path? (see 2 Nephi 31:17–19; “The Mission of the Church and the Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel,” p. 15).
How does a knowledge of the plan of salvation help us understand why we are commanded to pray? to be baptized? to be honest? to be morally clean?
How does a knowledge of the plan of salvation help us understand why we are commanded to be free from addictive substances? to pay tithing? to serve a mission? to attend the temple?
When students have completed the exercise, invite them to share what they learned with the class. Bear your testimony of all that the plan of salvation means to you. Encourage students to ponder the plan of salvation often and determine how an understanding of it can help them live the gospel in their daily lives. Conclude by reading the following statement by President Hugh B. Brown, who was a Counselor in the First Presidency:
“The leaders of the Church have, from the beginning, taught faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we acknowledge him as our Savior and Redeemer. It is our duty to teach this to our children … and, because they are children of God, [to] teach them to be loyal to the royal spirit that is in them” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1966, 104).