This lesson gives great scriptures and some solid ideas. Understanding the Plan of Salvation can help while making big choices in life. There are many places in this lesson to share personal stories around decision-making. I add a few ideas of my own here – to add to your preparations for this lesson.
Simple vs Complicated
Elder Uchtdoft says: “This beautiful gospel is so simple a child can grasp it, yet so profound and complex that it will take a lifetime of study and discovery to fully understand it.” This is how I feel about the Plan of Salvation. The basic idea and structure are simple – and yet it is full of nuance, variation, and complexity. There are many things about the Plan that we don’t know or understand, so it leaves some holes in the explanation.
When teaching the YW, you may take a dual approach: explain the basic plan simply and then dive into one or two concepts in a deeper way. Ask the YW what they’d like to learn about specifically – and dig deeper in to that section.
From the manual: “Heavenly Father prepared a plan to enable us to become like Him.”
From the manual: “The Savior asked questions that caused those He taught to think deeply.”
What makes a Good Plan?
One approach would be to discuss the idea of “a plan” –
- Something that brings order
- A given path to follow that allows for certainty
- A way to get from point A to point B
And then – what makes a good plan –
- Strong goals that give guidance
- Allowance to flex around circumstances when needed
- Adaptability to group dynamics
Boundaries often conflict with flexibility and adaptability. Who chooses when flexibility is allowed? Who decides when adaptability is needed? These questions create difficulties in creating good plans here on earth.
Ideally, it is God who understands the unique diversity of people and situations – and allows room in the plan for variations. However, it’s hard to keep boundaries and conformity on earth without a perfect judge.
The Plan of Salvation
Central to the plan of salvation are three pillars – the creation, the fall, and the atonement. Here are my ideas on the Plan of Salvation and the three pillars:
Agency is central to God’s plan (vs Satan’s plan) during the War in Heaven. Some believe that we used our agency even before that: we chose God (as intelligences) just as He chose us when creating our spirit bodies.
We used our agency to chose God’s plan and come to earth. We used our agency here when we chose Christ through baptism.
We use our agency to embrace each others – diversity and complexity – in the church and in the world.
The more we use our agency, the more diverse we become. Conversely, as our tolerance for diversity decreases, so does our agency.
- Pre Earth Life
Moses 4: 1-4
Abraham Chapter 3
I believe this is an important time to bring in Heavenly Mother – and discuss the feminine divine in the pre-earth life and the creation. Use the church’s essay as a guide.
- The Creation
Genesis Chapter 1
Abraham Chapter 4
- The Fall
Genesis Chapters 2-3
Moses Chapter 4
- Earth life
We get our body! Yeah!
A good time for discussing the purpose of a body: magnification of emotions, learning about Godhood, temptations of the flesh. Other discussions around bodies could include learning to control our bodies and/or caring for our bodies.
Earth life is also a time when lots of variation among people is exhibited: we all have different gifts, strengths, weaknesses. (1 Corinthians 14) There are also different races. Physical and mental disabilities enter the picture.
As we travel through life, our paths create further variance: some stay singles, others are divorced, some couples are infertile, and still others are homosexual.
An all along the way, earth life is full of trails: abuse, illness, accidents, effects of sin, death.
(2 Nephi 2)
D&C 121:7 – “My daughter, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;”
D&C 122:7 – “And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit … if the heavens gather blackness … know thou, my daughter, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”
- The Atonement
Refer to Easter Remarks from 2014
Families can be a good place to understand and navigate Earth Life.
A traditional family (mother, father, biological children) is often held up as the standard within church conversation. Many times these types of families do well in providing a stable environment; but there are, however, times with this type of family can be abuse or difficult. Additionally, there are other types of families: blended families, single parent families, homosexual families that can also provide stable environments. Families should be supported and given positive energy. What is the best way to do this?
- Next Life
D& C 88
Additional Resource: Men’s Hearts Will Fail Them