1. The plan of salvation is “one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind.”
Watch: The Plan of Salvation Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation is compared to a three-act play, showing that knowledge of the plan helps us in our everyday lives. (10:39)
2. Premortal life
D&C 76:24 The inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God
‘Man is the greatest of all the creations of God. He is his offspring. We are all his children. It was made known through the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who saw it in vision, that the inhabitants of this earth and other worlds are begotten sons and daughters unto God. That ought to put an end-so far as Latter-day Saints are concerned-to all this nonsense prevailing in the world regarding the origin of man.
Man, I say, as the offspring of God, is the greatest of all his creations. He is greater than the moon, the sun, and the stars, which are the work of the fingers of God, and are made for the benefit of man.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 63.)
D&C 76:25-27 Rebellion
‘For example, the Lord’s life did not begin in Bethlehem,See “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”; see also Moses 2:26 and ours did not begin at birth. In the premortal world, He stood as the stalwart, unwavering advocate of God’s eternal plan for His children,See Abr. 3:22–27 and we were there. In the great War in Heaven, it was by the power of the Firstborn that Lucifer was cast out,See Moses 4:1–3 D&C 76:25–27and we helped champion the cause. Through God’s Only Begotten Son “the worlds are and were created,”See D&C 76:22–24 and we can therefore achieve our divine potential. As President J. Reuben Clark has said:
“It was not a novice, not an amateur, not a Being making a first trial, that came down in the beginning … and … made this world. …
“And if you think of this galaxy of ours having within it from the beginning perhaps … one million worlds, and multiply that by the number of millions of galaxies … that surround us, you will then get some view of who [Jesus Christ] is.”[“Who Is Our Savior?” Improvement Era, Nov. 1962, 798–99.]’ Keith B McMullin, General Conference, April 2004)
D&C 93:29 Man was also in the beginning with God
‘Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed.See Doctrine and Covenants 93:29 We are the literal spirit children of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents!
We come from the heavenly courts of the Lord our God. We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God. We walked with Him in our premortal life. We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways.
You and I participated in a Grand Council where our beloved Father presented His plan for us—that we would come to earth, receive mortal bodies, learn to choose between good and evil, and progress in ways that would not otherwise be possible.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2016)
D&C 29:36 A third part of the host of Heaven
‘Lucifer was very angry then, and he is very angry still-striving to make “all men…miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27). One-third deliberately chose not to undergo the mortal experience.
…The revealed record shows that Lucifer clearly chose to seek his personal preeminence, chose to be angry when he was rejected, chose to lead others astray, and chose misery, not joy. His “one-third” followers, in turn, chose to respond to his false allures. Incredibly, they turned their collective backs on the second estate, as he remains incurably and ironically intoxicated with his desire to control others!’ (Neal A Maxwell, Moving in His Majesty & Power, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2004], 10-11)
D&C 138:53-56 The Leaders of the Lord’s Latter-day Kingdom Were Held in Reserve to Come Forth in the Final Dispensation
‘The prophet Abraham was told that he was one of the noble and great spirits who was ordained in the premortal life to be a leader in God’s kingdom while in mortality (see Abraham 3:23). President Joseph F. Smith was shown that many choice servants of this dispensation were also among those noble spirits. The Lord held them in the spirit world where they were taught and prepared to come forth and lay the foundations of His latter-day work. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said that “every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” ‘ (Teachings, p. 365).
3. Mortal life
D&C 29:40 Forbidden fruit
‘We are all like Adam in that when we partake of “forbidden fruits” D&C 29:40 or do the things we are commanded not to do, we are ashamed, and we draw away from the Church and from God and hide ourselves, and if we continue in sin, the Spirit of God withdraws from us. There is no happiness in disobedience or sin. We have all learned from our childhood that we are happier when we are doing right.’ (N Eldon Tanner, General Conference, October 1971)
D&C 29:41-42 Spiritual death
‘Spiritual death is defined as a state of spiritual alienation from God–the eternal separation from the Supreme Being; condemnation to everlasting punishment is also called the second death. In other words, the second or spiritual death, which is the final judgment passed upon the wicked, is the same as the first death, banishment from the presence of the Lord.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:217)
4. Life after death
D&C 19:7 Is there a difference between Eternal Punishment and Eternal Damnation?
“Eternal damnation is the opposite of eternal life, and all those who do not gain eternal life, or exaltation in the highest heaven within the celestial kingdom, are partakers of eternal damnation. Their eternal condemnation is to have limitations imposed upon them so that they cannot progress to the state of godhood and gain a fulness of all things.
“They ‘remain separately and singly, without exaltation, … to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.’ (D. & C. 132:17.) Their kingdom or progress has an ‘end,’ and they ‘cannot have an increase.’ (D. & C. 131:4.) Spirit children are denied to them to all eternity, and they inherit ‘the deaths,’ meaning an absence of posterity in the resurrection. (D. & C. 132:16–25.)
“They are never redeemed from their spiritual fall and taken back into the full presence and glory of God. Only the obedient are ‘raised in immortality unto eternal life.’ The disobedient, ‘they that believe not,’ are raised in immortality ‘unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not.’ (D. & C. 29:42–44.)” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 234.)
D&C 76:42 That through him all might be saved
‘The theology of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is comprehensive, universal, merciful, and true. Following the necessary experience of mortal life, all sons and daughters of God will ultimately be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory. The righteous-regardless of current religious denomination or belief-will ultimately go to a kingdom of glory more wonderful than any of us can comprehend. Even the wicked, or almost all of them, will ultimately go to a marvelous-though lesser-kingdom of glory.’ (Dallin H Oaks, “Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign, May 1995, 87)
Read: Becoming Like God