Doctrine & Covenants/Church History
Lesson 19
The Plan of Salvation

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will help us understand the grand scope of the plan of salvation and to encourage us to live according to our knowledge of the plan.

Scripture references for study:  Review the Class Member Study Guide
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window.

Lesson 19 Handout (PDF)

The Plan of Salvation

Joseph Smith:  "All men know that they must die. And it is important that we should understand the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life and death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world, our sufferings here, and our departure hence. What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it day and night, for the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation. If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject." (TPJS, 324)

Throughout the ages men have wondered about life and their ultimate destiny. "The study of religion reveals that an important feature of it is a longing for value in life, a belief that life is not accidental and meaningless" (World Religions - From Ancient History to the Present, p10). This longing and desire have caused the creation of a multitude of religions in an attempt to answer this hunger for answers about the questions of life. The true answers can only be revealed by God himself. Any attempt by man to create or design answers only serves to lead men astray and away from truth.

Joseph Smith:  "The great plan of salvation is a theme which ought to occupy our strict attention, and be regarded as one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind." (TPJS, p68)

Let us consider in this lesson the latter-day revelations that have given us a true and more expansive explanation of our purpose in life and our eternal destiny.

Pre-Mortal Life

Who are we? Where did we come from? Did life begin at birth?

"I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn" (D&C 93:21).

"Man was also in the beginning with God" (D&C 93:29).

Our creation was not a random act, but an act of love. Our great Eternal Father created us with purpose.

A great chasm along the trail to eternity

In this great family meeting or council, options were offered as to how we might bridge this great chasm that stands as an obstacle in obtaining immortality and eternal life.

As preparations were made for mortality, many were given specific missions at different times during the history of the earth.

Mortal Life

Mortal life, this life we are now living, gains great meaning when we understand our eternal origins. A great eternal plan was laid out for us and a knowledge that a redeemer would intervene in our behalf help us bridge the great chasm.

The purpose of this life is no different from either our preexistent state or our post earthly state. As previously noted, Alma referred to the "the great plan of happiness" (Alma 42:8). Though we pass through the challenges and vicissitudes of mortality, we are just taking another step in the great plan of our Heavenly Father.

On the trail to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos

Mortality is necessary in order to continue our eternal progression. It is necessary for us to obtain a physical body to house our eternal spirit.

We are blessed with knowledge of our eternal nature, reaching back to our pre-existent state. Because of that knowledge, we know that Satan is working "to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice" (Moses 4:4). Having rebelled against the plan of the Father, Satan is doing all that he can to steer us away from the path. All of us have slipped at one time or another and come to that great chasm in the path that we cannot cross on our own. The great and eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to bridge the chasm if we obey the voice of the Lord by repenting of our sins and striving to be obedient to the principles and ordinances of the gospel.


Life After Death

Alma provides one of the clearest descriptions of what happens to us as we make the transition from mortality to eternal life.

When all have had the opportunity to hear and accept or reject the gospel, then the general resurrection will commence.

We are eternal beings. Our existence spans the eternities from the beginning of time to all eternity. In pursuit of the eternal plan of happiness, we pass through various states of existence. The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes it possible to receive a fulness of joy that is only possible through an eternal union of spirit and body. The great and wonderful Atonement bridges the chasm from spiritual death to eternal life with Heavenly Father for those who repent of their sins and obediently follow the gospel path.

For more on this topic visit Our Eternal Life, Becoming Like God, and Man Was Also in the Beginning with God, at

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Record your thoughts on the great plan of salvation. How does this belief give you purpose in life? How can you be more diligent in following the guides that have been given us?

Resources Used In This Lesson

Conference Reports (CR).

Discourses of Brigham Young.

History of the Church (HC).

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).

World Religions - From Ancient History to the Present edited by Geoffrey Parrinder.

Next Lesson

Return to: The Gospel Doctrine Class

Page created by: Please E-Mail comments.
Changes last made on:  13 March 2017