“The Plan of Salvation,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, 3
My dear brothers and sisters:
I am pleased to be here with the Saints in Great Britain, to raise my voice in testimony and thanksgiving for the multitude of blessings which the Lord has showered upon you and upon all his people, and to counsel with you relative to the course all of us must pursue to be assured of peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.
We have received the fullness of the everlasting gospel; that is, the Lord has revealed to us his plan of salvation and given us the power and authority to preach the gospel, to perform the ordinances of salvation, and to do all the things which will enable us to gain the fullness of reward in his kingdom.
Let us make this very plain. We do not look back to the Bible alone for our knowledge of the Lord and his laws. We do not claim priesthood or power or authority from heaven because these were possessed by the ancient saints. Our roots are not buried in the rubble of past ages.
It is true that we believe the Bible, more literally and fully and completely, I am sure, than others do. We accept it as the word of God, and strive to live in harmony with its teachings. We have all the knowledge that the world has about the dealings of the Lord with people in former times.
But the gospel which we have received has come to us by revelation, by the opening of the heavens, by the ministering of angels, in modern times. This dispensation began in the spring of 1820 with the appearance of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith, my great-uncle, the prophet chosen and prepared by the Lord to usher in his great latter-day work.
Thereafter Moroni came and delivered the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated “by the gift and power of God.” It is a new witness for Christ, and an additional proof of the Bible. Then various angels came down from the courts of glory and conferred again upon mortal men the same priesthood, the same powers, the same keys possessed by those of old.
In due course the Prophet received—line upon line and precept upon precept—those revelations which set forth what men must believe and do to gain salvation. Then, pursuant to divine command and following a long night of darkness and universal apostasy, the true Church of Jesus Christ was organized again on earth on the sixth day of April 1830.
This church administers the gospel and makes salvation available to all who will believe and obey those eternal laws which Deity has ordained to prepare men for life in his presence.
May I restate for the Saints and announce for the benefit of all what is involved in gaining salvation. Our third Article of Faith states: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” [A of F 1:3]
We believe that salvation is in Christ, that he is the Savior of the world and the Redeemer of men. A Book of Mormon prophet said “that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent,” and “that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3:18, 17.)
We accept without reservation the scriptural teachings that Christ is the Son of God and that he came into the world to ransom men from the spiritual and temporal death brought into the world by the fall of Adam. No one can state too plainly or emphasize too strongly this eternal truth that salvation is in Christ and that it comes because of his atoning sacrifice. Nor can we set forth too clearly the gospel truth that we also must do certain things to be saved.
We must believe in Christ and pattern our lives after him. We must be baptized as he was baptized. We must worship the Father as he did. We must do the will of the Father as he did. We must seek to do good and work righteousness as he did. He is our Exemplar, the great Prototype of salvation.
Because of his atoning sacrifice, all men will be raised in immortality. They will come forth from the grave and live forever as resurrected beings. But only those who believe and obey the fullness of his laws shall be raised both in immortality and unto eternal life. And one of the great purposes of the true church is to teach men what they must do after baptism to gain the full blessings of the gospel.
Building on the foundation of the atonement, the plan of salvation consists of the following things:
First, we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we must accept him as the Son of God; we must put our trust in him, rely upon his word, and desire to gain the blessings which come by obedience to his laws.
Second, we must repent of our sins; we must forsake the world; we must determine in our hearts, without reservation, that we will live godly and upright lives.
Third, we must be baptized in water, under the hands of a legal administrator, who has power to bind on earth and seal in heaven; we must through this sacred ordinance enter into a covenant to serve the Lord and keep his commandments.
Fourth, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; we must be born again; we must have sin and iniquity burned out of our souls as though by fire; we must gain a new creation by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Fifth, we must endure to the end; we must keep the commandments after baptism; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord; we must so live as to acquire the attributes of godliness and become the kind of people who can enjoy the glory and wonders of the celestial kingdom.
Now I thank the Lord for his goodness and mercy and grace in revealing anew to us in this day the terms and conditions upon which salvation may be won. I thank him for the restoration of the priesthood and power which enable us to perform the ordinances of salvation so they will be binding on earth and sealed everlastingly in the heavens.
I am grateful for the mission and ministry of the Son of God and marvel at what he has done for us. It is my constant prayer that we may prove ourselves worthy of his blessings and qualify to be with him in his kingdom in the world to come.
I testify that this work in which we are engaged is true. I know that the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith to usher in this glorious gospel dispensation. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God and that it is true. I know that the gospel has been restored in its fullness, perfection, and beauty, and that if we will live and obey its laws, we shall have peace in this life and glory and honor in the world to come.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.