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Sep 1, 2008

The Plan Of Salvation Part 1

There are many in today’s society wandering spiritually, because they lack the purpose to life that God desires for each of us to have. Without even knowing it they question where they came from, their purpose in life, and where they will go after death. However, a wise and loving Heavenly Father, knowing that we would need direction in this chaotic period, prepared a plan before the foundations of the world, which would serve as a roadmap back to Him. Like the unfolding plot of a three-act play, the Plan of Salvation, or Great Plan of Happiness, was designed with the intent that we could receive the fullness of the Father’s joy. Though we may not even know it, a third of the play has already been performed, as the curtain opens for Act II. Nevertheless, let’s backup and examine the first act, so that we may better understand the action of the second.

Although we may not remember it, before we were born we lived with our Heavenly Fathers as His spirit children (see Jeremiah 1:5, Romans 8: 16-17, & Hebrews 12:9). Just as young children who are taught by astute parents, in this pre-mortal existence we were taught the principles and commandments which would lead to lasting happiness. Likewise, as young children who imagine growing up to be just like their father, we too desired to become like our spirit father, but understood that we could never reach our greatest potential without having a physical body and the experience from a period of mortal probation.

Knowing this, a wise Heavenly Father gathered all of His children together and presented a plan—this Plan of Salvation—by which we could gain a body, be tested through trials and choices, and return back to live with Him. Although the way would be difficult and we would sometimes stumble, He promised to send us a Savior who would ransom His sinless, perfect life for the price of our sins. Then turning to His firstborn, our elder brother, He presented Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer and foreordained Him to this vital calling (see Romans 8:29-30 & 1 Peter 1:19-20).

Although we rejoiced at the thought of being tested and redeemed from error, some did not share our enthusiasm. Led by another of God’s spirit children, Lucifer, this group sought to take away our agency, or our ability to choose between right and wrong. They also desired to usurp God’s glory and power (see Isaiah 14: 12-15) by forcing all of God’s children, through compulsion, to return back to Heaven, robbing them of the precious experiences of trails designed to refine character (see Isaiah 48: 9, Zechariah 13: 9, & Malachi 3: 2-3)


Since agency was so integral to our Father’s plan and considering He would not force anyone to accept His plan, a rebellion ensued which resulted in the expulsion of Lucifer and his followers (a third of God’s children) from Heaven (see Revelation 11: 4, 7-11). Because Lucifer (now called Satan or the Devil) and his followers will never be allowed to be born and gain a physical tabernacle, owning to their rebellion, they are miserable. Remaining as spirits on this Earth, they tempt us to do things which will bring us ultimate unhappiness and God’s displeasure. Although the Heavens wept at the fall of Lucifer (see Doctrine & Covenants 76: 26), we still rejoiced in the plausibility of our redemption.

Integral to God’s plan of happiness was the creation of an Earth where Father’s children could gain a physical body and be tested away from His physical presence. From various accounts in the New Testament (including Hebrews 1: 1-2, Ephesians 3:9, & 1 Colossians 1:15-16), we learn that under the direction of the Father, the pre-mortal Jesus Christ was the creator of the Earth. Much like the relationship between an architect and a carpenter in construction, the Father and the Son worked in harmony to create this Earth so that we would have a place to learn and grow. Logically this makes sense considering that one of Christ’s appellations is “the Creator.”

With the Earth’s completion, Adam and Eve were called to be the first of Father’s children to
inhabit it. Remaining in God’s presence, they lived in a paradisiacal place called the Garden of Eden. Given the freedom to choose (agency) and a charge not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their obedience meant that they could live forever in God’s physical presence, but never gain the experience from mortality. Choosing to yield to the temptations of Satan, they partook of the forbidden fruit and became mortal.

The result was that they would be subject to physical and spiritual death, meaning that they could no longer dwell in the presence of God. If they had not transgressed by partaking of the fruit they would have remained in Eden and, “they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy,” (see 2 Nephi 2: 22-23, in the Book of Mormon). Through our Heavenly Father’s omniscience, He knew that Adam and Eve would fall and become estranged from Him. Thus, their decision was a part of this plan. As a result, a redeemer was necessary to overcome the effects of the Fall and reconcile us back to our Father. Like a three-act play, the Plan of Salvation provides the direction for life that many earnestly seek. Knowing that we lived with God as His spirit children before birth provides the answer to where we originated. The remaining acts answer the soul’s questions pertaining to our lives’ purpose and final destination after death.

Elder W. W. Pryor is a local missionary for the Church. All scriptural citations can be digitally found at

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