Thursday, November 20, 2008

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The Plan of Salvation!

The Plan of Salvation! What a wondrous plan for all the inhabitants of the earth. Heavenly Father loves each of us equally and has sent us here to be tested. I am grateful for the knowledge I have gained of this plan of happiness...

The following truths are taken from

In the premortal existence, Heavenly Father prepared a plan to enable us to become like Him and receive a fulness of joy. The scriptures refer to this plan as "the plan of salvation" (Alma 24:14; Moses 6:62), "the great plan of happiness" (Alma 42:8), "the plan of redemption" (Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:30), and "the plan of mercy" (Alma 42:15). The plan of salvation is the fulness of the gospel. It includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel. Moral agency, the ability to choose and act for ourselves, is also essential in Heavenly Father's plan. Because of this plan, we can be perfected through the Atonement, receive a fulness of joy, and live forever in the presence of God. Our family relationships can last throughout the eternities.

We are participants in Heavenly Father's plan, and our eternal experience can be divided into three main parts: premortal life, mortal life, and life after death. As we come to understand the plan, we find answers to questions asked by so many: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life?

Premortal Life

Before we were born on the earth, we lived in the presence of our Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children. In this premortal existence, we attended a council with Heavenly Father's other spirit children. At that council, Heavenly Father presented His great plan of happiness (see Abraham 3:22–26).

In harmony with the plan of happiness, the premortal Jesus Christ, the Firstborn Son of the Father in the spirit, covenanted to be the Savior (see Moses 4:2; Abraham 3:27). Those who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life. Lucifer, another spirit son of God, rebelled against the plan and "sought to destroy the agency of man" (Moses 4:3). He became Satan, and he and his followers were cast out of heaven and denied the privileges of receiving a physical body and experiencing mortality (see Moses 4:4; Abraham 3:27–28).

Throughout our premortal lives, we developed our identity and increased our spiritual capabilities. Blessed with the gift of agency, we made important decisions, such as the decision to follow Heavenly Father's plan. These decisions affected our life then and now. We grew in intelligence and learned to love the truth, and we prepared to come to the earth, where we could continue to progress.

Mortal Life

We are now experiencing mortal life. Our spirits are united with our bodies, giving us opportunities to grow and develop in ways that were not possible in premortal life. This part of our existence is a time of learning in which we can prove ourselves, choose to come unto Christ, and prepare to be worthy of eternal life. It is also a time when we can help others find the truth and gain a testimony of the plan of salvation.

Life after Death

When we die, our spirits will enter the spirit world and await the resurrection. At the time of the resurrection, our spirit and body will reunite, and we will be judged and received into a kingdom of glory. The glory we inherit will depend on the depth of our conversion and our obedience to the Lord's commandments (see Kingdoms of Glory). It will depend on the manner in which we have "received the testimony of Jesus" (D&C 76:51; see also D&C 76:74, 79, 101).

Blessings through Knowledge of the Plan

A testimony of the plan of salvation can give us hope and purpose as we wrestle with the challenges of life. We can find reassurance in the knowledge that we are children of God and that we lived in His presence before being born on the earth. We can find meaning in our present life, knowing that our actions during mortality influence our eternal destiny. With this knowledge, we can base important decisions on eternal truths rather than on the changing circumstances of life. We can continually improve our relationships with family members, rejoicing in the promise that our families can be eternal. We can find joy in our testimonies of the Atonement and the Lord's commandments, ordinances, covenants, and doctrines, knowing that "he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (D&C 59:23).

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