Plan of Salvation Overview: Suggestion 3
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; see “Premortal Existence,” “Spiritual Creation,” p. 13; “Agency,” p. 14.) Write All Mankind at the lower end of the bridge and Eternal Life, with its definition, at the other end.
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?
Afterthephysicalcreationoftheearth,whatpartdid Adam and Eve play to prepare the way for us to become more like Heavenly Father? (see 2 Nephi 2:22–25; “The Fall and Mortality,” p. 14).
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).
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.
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.