The Plan of Salvation/Happiness/Progression 

There are three questions that are common to the lot of man and have been considered throughout all history these questions are:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where do I go when I die?
The plan of salvation answers these questions.  Through this knowledge it can provide an anchor to the soul and provide faith, hope and confidence throughout the trials of this life.

This life is not without purpose - God has a plan for us.  The creation, the fall, our lives, our deaths and this experience has an underlying purpose and goal.  The scriptures plainly show this as follows: 

Moses 1:39
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

His purpose is to organize intelligences into spirits. Provide a means for them to grow, develop and be tabernacled in first a spirit body, then a physical temporal body. Learn and grow from this experience, die and then be resurrected into immortal and eternal physical bodies that will never die again. When they are resurrected these individuals will receive according to the Law, Mercy, Grace, and Justice of God a degree of glory and a salvation that they were willing to receive. Thus his work and his glory is to provide this opportunity for intelligences - to grow and develop and become as great and awesome as they can be.  One possible representation of the plan of salvation is listed below.

Plan of SalvationThe Pre-Existence - LDS Video Link

  1. Before we were spirits we existed as intelligences and have in fact never not existed - we are co-eternal with God. (See D&C 93:29-31 Abraham 3:21 He is even called the father of Lights: James 1:17, D&C 67:9)
  2. Characteristics of an Intelligence - Agency, Knowledge, ability to remember D&C 93:29-31
  3. We are spirit children of God, our Heavenly Father, and we lived with Him before coming to earth (see Romans 8:16–17). 
  4. A Spirit is a spirit body that has an intelligence within it - it is our 1st estate to be embodied in this way
  5. Spirit bodies are made of material that is called spirit - it is matter just more refined D&C 131:7
  6. Spirit bodies have hands, eyes, nose, mouth, gender and are in a form like a man (see Proclamation on the Family, Ether 3:17)
  7. Heavenly Father called a great council in heaven (see Abraham 3:22–23). He presented a plan for our eternal development and happiness, which is called the plan of salvation. We chose to follow His plan.
  8. In harmony with the plan, Jesus Christ, the Firstborn Son of Heavenly Father, volunteered to be our Savior (see Moses 4:2Abraham 3:27).
  9. Lucifer, another son of God, rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan and “sought to destroy the agency of man.” He and his followers were cast out of heaven and were denied the privileges of receiving a physical body and experiencing mortality. Throughout the ages, Satan, as Lucifer is now called, has tried to make all mankind miserable like himself by tempting them to be wicked (see Moses 4:1, 3–42 Nephi 2:17–18, Abraham 3:24-28).
  10. He would have done this not by removing our ability to chose, for that is impossible, but rather by using God's Power and knowledge to adjust the situation so that agency was destroyed - for agency is an inherent characteristic of a spirit and cannot be removed from it. (D&C 93:29-31, Satan's Rebellion Ensign Mar 2015)
  11. This war was a war of ideas, and concepts of obedience and rebellion - no one died everyone was immortal.
  12. Individuals before they were born initially started in an equal state but because of their choices they grew and developed based upon obedience.  Jesus Christ being more intelligent than them all (see Alma 13:3-5, Abraham 3:18-20)

Thought Questions:
What are the characteristics of a spirit person?
Why is a pre-existent state required for agency to be real? (hint: God is omniscient, God is all powerful, if we are created at birth - God created us using these two characteristics Why a Pre-Existence is required: see comments below main post)
Why is it so important that we gain a body? (Reason for needing a body)
Does Satan have power over a person who has a body?  If not... why?
When a spirit chooses evil - is that a sin?  If it is a sin how were we forgiven of those sins? (See Alma 13 - for scriptures concerning this perhaps we don't know?)

The Creation (See Moses 3, Abraham 4) - (see The Creation - Russell M. Nelson May 2000) Who was Adam - Jan 1994 Our First Parents - Feb 1973

“The plan required the Creation, and that in turn required both the Fall and the Atonement. These are the three fundamental components of the plan. The creation of a paradisiacal planet came from God. Mortality and death came into the world through the Fall of Adam. Immortality and the possibility of eternal life were provided by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement were planned long before the actual work of the Creation began” - Russell M. Nelson.

  1. Was this the first planet created?  Nope - there are many worlds that have been created, and many worlds that have passed away, and many that now stand. Moses 1:33-35
  2. When we read the word Create - we should think of the word organize... planets are created - pass away - and are reused... (God uses law and order to engineer the universe - Heavy materials are formed in solar explosions...etc.)
  3. The Gods being somewhere else - looked down - for there was space there - and planned on using that space/kingdom for the creation of man... Abraham 3:24 D&C 88:36-38
  4. The Gods Plan the Creation before it happened - then they did it (See Abraham 5:4-5)
    They created it spiritually first - then physically... second D&C 29:31-32  then temporally then spiritually at the end...
    All things were created spiritually before they were created physically (see Moses 3:5  Gen. 2:4–6 Abr. 5:5)
  5. God Created Adam and Eve - Adam is the name of the first man of all men... Moses 1:34
    They are a spiritual body, and a physical body together forming a soul(see Abraham 5:7)
    Their bodies were not mortal - neither could they have children (see 2 Nephi 2:22-23, Alma 12:23-24)
  6. The Lord Planted a Garden eastward in Eden
    God placed Adam and Eve into the Garden(see Moses 3:7–8, 21–23, Abraham 4:26-28)
    Animals and Plants have a soul as well as man (see Moses 3:9,Moses 3:19-20)
    There were two special trees placed in the garden - the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (see Abraham 5:9, Moses 3:9)
  7. Commandments were given to Adam and Eve - they responded by covenant (meaning they accepted them and said they would obey)
    Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil or you will die (Moses 3:16-17, Abraham 5:12-13, Gen 2:16-17)
    Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it (Gen 1:28)
  8. Adam and Eve were created somewhere else - and then placed in the Garden of Eden (Abraham 5:7-8)
  9. Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit they were driven from the garden and death/sin entered into the world (see Moses 4:9-13
  10. They had truly made an eternal mistake - they were going to die - and they would become like Satan (see 2 Nephi 9:7-9)
  11. God reveals to them that this is not the end - but rather that an atonement has been prepared for them! (see 2 Nephi 9:10-13) - This is the "Good News" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - they have hope!!
  12. Adam gives names to all the animals (see Gen 2:20)

Thought Questions:  
The fall of Man and his Redemption Jan 1990 
#1. Why was it required that there be a Fall - instead of having God just create Adam and Eve in their Telestial state - knowing good and evil? (See Why did the Lord command Adam and Eve to multiply - when they couldn't Ensign Sep 1973)

"That brings us to the Fall. Scripture teaches that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” The Fall of Adam (and Eve) constituted the mortal creation and brought about the required changes in their bodies, including the circulation of blood and other modifications as well. They were now able to have children. They and their posterity also became subject to injury, disease, and death." - Russell M. Nelson - Nov 1996

God knew before the earth was ever created that it would be necessary for Adam and Eve to fall so they “would have seed.” Thus, even before the earth was created, Jesus Christ had agreed that he would pay the penalty required by the law of justice for the transgression of the law that resulted in the fall of Adam and Eve. The scriptures refer to the Savior as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8), and they indicate that Jesus Christ had agreed to bring about the atonement before the earth was ever created (1 Pet. 1:19–20Eph. 1:4Moses 5:57D&C 121:32Mosiah 18:13Ether 3:14)." - Ensign Sep 1973

  1. God had promised his children the hope of eternal life in the pre-existence (see Titus 1:2, Abr 3:25-26, 1 Peter 1:2
  2. If God had created Adam and Even subject to death without their agency involved he would have damned them to be like Satan - without them having transgressed.  This would be unjust which he cannot be. (see 2 Nephi 9:8-9)
  3. Thus "He created a world that was without sin or evil, and he placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in a state of innocence. He then gave law (the opportunity of choice) to Adam and Eve, and he also gave them their free agency (the freedom of choice). Then, and this is a very important point, he did not hold Adam and Eve responsible for any transgression they committed in their state of innocence. (see Ensign Sep 1973)
  4. Through this process he allowed agency to rule - he did not inflict mortality upon Adam and Eve unjustly - but rather by the consequence of their own actions.  They fell - he did not damn them arbitrarily to a worse state...
  5. He does not condemn Adam and Eve to eternal damnation because of their fall - No but rather through their fall allowed man to come into the world and progress! (see 2 Nephi 2:25-27)

Moses 5:10-12
10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.
12 And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.

Thus the Fall of Adam and Eve - not imposed upon them by God, but rather as a natural consequence of their own agency, their own choice.  Thus they "Fell" from a state of immortality to mortality, a state of no corruption to a state of corruption - and yet through the fall the Plan of Salvation was Begun!

#2. Why do you think it is important that God had a plan and promised us things before he implemented the creation?
God's work and his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of Man (see Moses 1:39) - God works through knowledge, and power and his understanding of these principles to fulfill his work.  Thus we know that he followed his plan, his promises are sure, and he can and will fulfill them.  Thus we ALL will be saved to a degree of Glory in the next life.  We ALL shall progress to a greater degree than we were before we were born.
Thus GOD and Jesus Christ will triumph over all enemies and will save us as they have promised and planned.

Was the Fall the destruction of the Plan of Salvation? No
Did Satan Win when he attempted to destroy the bodies of Adam and Eve - to poison them and to cause death?  No 

The Time of Mortality

  1. The purpose for our coming to this earthly experience to prove ourselves and show our obedience (see Abraham 3:25-26)
  2. As a time period to prepare to meet God - to perform their labors (see Alma 34:32)
  3. Men are free according to the flesh free to choose life, or death (see 2 Nephi 2:27)
  4. The natural man is an enemy to God and his body - will choose evil (see Mosiah 3:19)
  5. Once Mankind had been placed upon the earth it was expedient that they be taught concerning the plan of God and the means of obtaining salvation. (see Alma 12:28-35)
  6. There is only one way or means by which an individual can receive a remission of sins.  This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ - the Good news that the fall of mankind did not condemn all mankind to eternal suffering and that they would not become like Satan because of it.  (see 2 Nephi 9:7-9)
  7. The means and way that has been prepared is given unto men that they may follow it - (see Article of Faith 4, D&C 76:51-53)
  8. During this life we live by "Faith" and not by knowledge.  We are required to without absolute proof or empirical evidence choose to obey God without absolute knowledge (see Alma 34:32Abraham 3:24–26).
  9. Every individual will eventually die - for God's word has said that this is the case - for from dust we are and unto dust we shall return.

Thought Questions:
#1. Why is it important that we have a "Name" given to us in this life?
What is a name?
A name is a term used for identification, classification, or providing a description of the character and attributes of a thing.

In ancient times a Name meant many things, and was not given or taken lightly.  When an individual converted to Judaism they would often change their name.  Symbolizing that the old life is gone, and a new life has begun.
So also in the scriptures when an individual covenanted or changed dramatically so... did their identifier, i.e. their name.
Abram -> Abraham, Jacob -> Israel, Lucifer -> Satan, Sarah -> Sariah, Saul -> Paul, etc.

Furthermore - infants are given a new Name - at the time of their Birth - it is a new designation, a new life has begun.

How is a covenant made?
In the temple we make sacred covenants and do it according to the same pattern as other covenants as described below and is common to covenants already taken:

Generally speaking a covenant may have four parts associated with it. (Very much like a treaty in Old Testament Times)

  1. The ritual/ordinance done through the priesthood – Symbolism involved - a sign is given/shown
  2. The promise/oath  – a promise/commitment  to do something, action is required
  3. The name – the taking upon one’s self a new name or designation – you are different afterwards 
  4. The blessing/reward/protection provided

Abrahamic covenant - Gen 17:1-14
Baptismal Covenant: - Mosiah 18:8-11

  1. Baptism symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection, and can only be done by immersion 
  2. Witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments to the end, and repent of our sins. 
  3. Take upon us the name of Christ 
  4. Always have his spirit to be with us/ forgiveness of sins.

Marriage Covenant

  1. Ordinance of marriage  - the holding of hands/the trading of rings  - kiss or other symbolic action
  2. Unity in sickness/health purpose and life, total fidelity 
  3. Bound under one name – same name one household - surname
  4. Eternal Union and Eternal Family, Eternal progression – Live life like God’s Life

Oath and Covenant of Priesthood D&C 84:33-41

  1. Ordination – to Melchizedek Priesthood - laying hands upon the head
  2. Magnify our callings, and fulfill our stewardships 
  3. Take upon us the name of our office - Elder, Teacher, Deacon, Bishop, Apostle, etc.
  4. All That God Hath or No forgiveness in this life or in the world to come

Look to the other covenants we have made you will see the same pattern.
The Lord uses Covenants with us to:

  1. Increase our commitment to obedience
  2. Strengthen our faith – we have a promised reward
  3. Through the laws and ordinances of the gospel we are changed and converted so we no longer desire to do evil – thus making our covenants easier to maintain.
  4. Increases our responsibility to obey – we have a greater responsibility having covenanted to obey.

Brother I'm Committed - Uchtdorf - July 2011 Ensign
Two young brothers stood atop a small cliff that overlooked the pristine waters of a blue lake. This was a popular diving spot, and the brothers had often talked about making the jump—something they had seen others do.
Although they both wanted to make the jump, neither one wanted to be first. The height of the cliff wasn’t that great, but to the two young boys, it seemed the distance increased whenever they started to lean forward—and their courage was fading fast.
Finally, one brother put one foot at the edge of the cliff and moved decisively forward. At that moment his brother whispered, “Maybe we should wait until next summer.”
The first brother’s momentum, however, was already pulling him forward. “Brother,” he responded, “I’m committed!”
He splashed into the water and surfaced quickly with a victorious shout. The second brother followed instantly. Afterward, they both laughed about the first boy’s final words before plunging into the water: “Brother, I’m committed.”
Commitment is a little like diving into the water. Either you are committed or you are not. Either you are moving forward or you are standing still. There’s no halfway

Why is a sojourn in mortality a requirement for exaltation?
There is no other way nor means whereby we can learn how to control a physical tabernacle except by doing so.  We must walk by faith, live by faith, and work by faith in these mortal bodies of clay.

Why does God allow evil to occur?
To God the concept of Agency/Will is a divine characteristic of an intelligence/spirit or being.  Thus God cannot destroy the agency of man. (D&C 93:29-32)  Furthermore, the just consequences of actions must be allowed that the evil doings of an individual fully merit the consequences applied to that individual.  This also applies to the rewards provided to an individual, and the results of an individual receiving evil unto them - and yet not responding in kind etc. (see Alma 14:11)

Why is having a body better than not having one?
For spirits after they have died think of it as being as a bondage... (D&C 138:50Reason for needing a body))

Death - what happens to us when we die - based upon eye-witness accounts: (Raymond Moody's Research)

  1. Sudden understanding - that one is dead - recognition
  2. Peace and a feeling of love and contentment
  3. Seeing one's body and nearby location
  4. The tunnel - a feeling of movement - leaving
  5. The being of light
  6. The life Review
    "The life review"
    It is described by those who have experienced it as:
    A perfect 3 dimensional panoramic view of important scenes, and in some cases complete recollection of one's whole life. When viewing these scenes, details of our life and the results of our actions on others, their pain, joy, love and emotions are plainly shown. We will "Know" as we are "known" and see as we are seen, and we cannot hide the "truth" from the light nor from ourselves. One person explained it this way:
    "Instantly becoming everyone you came in contact with in your entire life (feeling their emotions, thinking their thoughts, living their experiences, learning their motives behind their actions)."
    Thus individuals will know and understand their state before God with perfection - and suffer guild and anguish, or peace and happiness.
  7. Rising rapidly into another location
  8. Seeing people who seem to be made of light
  9. Reluctance to return
  10. Time of the whole experience different that time on earth

Interesting Aside: The light we see could be the Holy Ghost - as a ministering spirit ministering to those who are in a "Telestial" condition which is the condition of this mortal condition.  The being of light often times is not directly stated as being Jesus Christ by individuals who have experienced it... This is one of those things - that we just don't know... but it is interesting to consider.

Scriptural information concerning what happens after we die

The State of mankind after death - Prison/Paradise

  1. Alma 40:11-14 - all men as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, whether good or evil are taken home to that God who gave them life
    They are received into a state of happiness or paradise , or a state of prison with weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth
  2. 1 Peter 3:19-21,4:6 Jesus Christ went to the dead and preached to them who are in spirit prison, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit
  3. D&C 138:18-22, 29-35 Jesus Christ went to those in paradise and organized his forces - sending them into prison to teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, vicarious baptism, and all other things need for them to receive a remission of sins.
  4. D&C 19:15-18 Which suffering/anguish of spirit cause Jesus Christ to tremble because of pain, and shrink and would that he might not partake... which suffering in the smallest degree they will suffer in prison
  5. Alma 38:8, Mosiah 27:29-31 I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul - suffering of the damned

Thus they go to either paradise or prison and wait for their resurrection in a state of peace/contentment or a state of anguish and misery.  During this time righteous spirit individuals are empowered to go into prison and teach those in this state concerning vicarious baptism for the dead the the receipt of a remission of sins.  That they might receive such - and be redeemed from this state of anguish and misery.  Thus we do ordinances in the temple that those who choose may be redeemed and saved.

All individuals will eventually be redeemed through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Those who are in prison are currently suffering guilt, pain and the torments of being disobedient and doing what was wrong. They will continue to be in this state - until they have and will receive a remission of their sins through vicarious ordinances of the gospel.

It isn't that they atone for their own sins - and thus are redeemed. For they cannot being unworthy - and under the penalty of death. However, they will every one of them receive vicarious redemption through the ordinances of the temple - and thus receive a remission of their sins.  Individuals who are under the penalty of sin - cannot nor are they worthy to redeem themselves through their own suffering.  They can suffer as Alma did it is true - but it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ - he who is might to save that they can receive a remission of their sins. Then eventually through the resurrection they will receive what glory they chose to receive. For all are heirs of salvation. Every one of us will eventually receive a remission of our sins - and receive a glory even Telestial, Terestrial, or Celestial glory.

"In conclusion, what we do know about the spirit world is that the Father’s and the Son’s work of salvation continues there. Our Savior initiated the work of declaring liberty to the captives (see 1 Peter 3:18–19; 4:6; Doctrine and Covenants 138:6–11, 18–21, 28–37), and that work continues as worthy and qualified messengers continue to preach the gospel, including repentance, to those who still need its cleansing effect (see Doctrine and Covenants 138:57). The object of all of that is described in the official doctrine of the Church, given in modern revelation."
Trust in the Lord Ensign 2019 - October Oaks

Thus Jesus Christ is the redeemer of all mankind. Those who avail themselves of the atonement fully - and those who do not.

Another way of looking at it is this way:
An individual who rebels against God in this life, rejects his commandments and does not repent. Will in spirit prison suffer torment and anguish of soul, knowing of his guilt. Then in the resurrection they will pay the penalty of their choices and have them restored to them again - in the body that they receive.

Is this the doctrine of second chances? No
No it is the doctrine of an equal and equitable opportunity for all.  Nowhere in the scriptures do we read that this is a second chance to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ - but rather it is a first and fair opportunity to do so.  We must however remember that we are not the ones to judge who has had such a chance, nor who is rebelling against God or not.  However, we must understand that each and every one of us does know this about ourselves - although not others.

Then all shall receive salvation - they will become one with God, and receive a remission of their sins through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Then they will inherit whatever glory they chose to receive and in their saved state continue - un-exalted but saved. For all are to be redeemed and saved save the sons of perdition. D&C 88:27-39, Alma 41:3-8

D&C 76:36-44
36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—
37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;
38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.
39 For all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb, who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.

40 And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—
41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.
44 Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment

The Resurrection - The Resurrection of Jesus Christ - a Talk