“The Plan of Salvation,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material (2017)
“The Plan of Salvation,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material
Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.
Write the heading Plan of Salvation on the board. Invite students to come to the board and write down what they feel are some of the most important elements of the plan of salvation.
Ask several students to read aloud the first three paragraphs of doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional elements of the plan of salvation. After each paragraph is read, invite students to report what they found. Add their responses to the list on the board.
Invite students to mark the following statements of doctrine in the second paragraph: Moral agency—the ability to choose and act for ourselves—is also essential to Heavenly Father’s plan. Our eternal progression depends on how we use this gift.
Which Book of Mormon doctrinal mastery passage supports these statements of doctrine? (Invite students to mark 2 Nephi 2:27 in a distinctive way in their scriptures so they will be able to locate it easily.)
To help students understand the context of 2 Nephi 2:27, explain that this passage contains truths the prophet Lehi taught his sons shortly before his death. Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 2:27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that indicate how our use of agency affects our eternal progression.
What words or phrases in 2 Nephi 2:27 indicate how our use of agency affects our eternal progression? (Students should mention the following phrase: “They are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.”)
Who is “the great Mediator of all men”? (Jesus Christ.)
How does choosing to follow Jesus Christ give us liberty, or freedom?
How does choosing to give in to the devil’s temptations lead to captivity and death? (Poor choices can lead to addiction, poor health, physical death, and spiritual death. Spiritual death means to be cut off from the presence of God and the companionship of His Spirit.)
Read 2 Nephi 2:27 aloud together as a class. Ask students to state the doctrine that we learn about agency from this verse. Students should recall that our eternal progression depends on how we use our agency—the ability to choose and act for ourselves—that God has given us.
Point out that some people may criticize us for choosing to use our agency to do God’s will and keep His commandments, claiming this limits us and causes us to lose our individuality.
What would you say in response to this type of criticism?
Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles aloud. Ask the class to listen for how our righteous use of agency allows us to reach our full potential.
“Using our agency to choose God’s will, and not slackening even when the going gets hard, will not make us God’s puppet; it will make us like Him. God gave us agency, and Jesus showed us how to use it so that we could eventually learn what They know, do what They do, and become what They are” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Moral Agency,” Ensign, June 2009, 53).
How does using our agency to choose God’s will help us achieve our full potential?
Invite students to ponder and write in their class notebooks or study journals what they will do to better use their agency to choose God’s will. Invite them to seek guidance from the Spirit as they ponder and write and to act on any promptings they receive.
After sufficient time, divide the students into pairs or small groups and invite them to check their responses by reading together the paragraphs under the sections “Premortal Life,” “The Creation,” and “The Fall” in doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.
After students have checked their responses, review the answers to the quiz as a class. The correct answers are: 1. False; 2. False; 3. True; 4. True; 5. False; 6. True.
As you discuss question 6, invite students to consider marking the following statements of doctrine in the last paragraph of the section “The Fall”: As a result of the Fall, Adam and Eve could have children. They and their posterity could experience joy and sorrow, know good from evil, and progress.
Write the following statements of doctrine on the board: As a result of the Fall, Adam and Eve could have children. They and their posterity could experience joy and sorrow, know good from evil, and progress.
Refer students to the section “The Fall” in doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, and ask:
Which doctrinal mastery passage supports these statements of doctrine? (Invite students to consider marking 2 Nephi 2:22–25 in a distinctive way.)
Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 2:22–25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that support the statements of doctrine on the board.
What words or phrases in these verses support the statements of doctrine on the board?
Point out that some people believe that the Fall of Adam and Eve was a terrible mistake. Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles aloud. Ask the class to listen for how Elder Oaks described Adam and Eve’s decision to partake of the forbidden fruit.
“It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and ‘Adam fell that men might be’ [2 Nephi 2:25].
“Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall. … Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: ‘I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:114–15)” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73).
How did Elder Oaks describe Adam and Eve’s decision to partake of the forbidden fruit?
How would you explain in your own words why the Fall of Adam and Eve is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation?
Ask students to imagine that they have been invited to speak at a funeral, and there will be people attending the funeral who know very little about the Church’s teachings. Invite students to read the sections “Mortal Life” and “Life After Death” in doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Encourage them to look for truths they feel would be important to include in their talk. Invite them to consider marking what they find.
Invite students to turn to a neighbor and explain which truths they marked and why they feel those truths would be important to share at the funeral.
To conclude this activity, consider asking the following question:
How has your understanding of the plan of salvation been a blessing to you when someone you love has died?
Review with students the three principles from the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.
After sufficient time, invite several students to report what they discussed and learned through this activity.
You may want to conclude by testifying that as we use our agency to choose to follow Jesus Christ, we will be able to progress spiritually and enjoy the blessings He promises to the faithful.
Assign students to work with a partner, and invite them to use their Doctrinal Mastery Reference Guide to study and review the doctrinal mastery passages they have studied so far and their accompanying keywords. After sufficient time, students can quiz each other by first stating the scripture reference and having their partner say the keywords for that doctrinal mastery passage from memory. Once both students have had the opportunity to be quizzed on the keywords, have them quiz each other by having one student state the keywords to see if the other student can identify the correct doctrinal mastery reference. Help students understand that knowing the references of the doctrinal mastery passages can help them as they teach the gospel to others and find answers to questions.
As an alternative to this activity, if students have electronic devices, consider allowing them time to download the official Seminary Doctrinal Mastery Application. The Doctrinal Mastery App is free and available for all mobile Apple and Android devices by searching “LDS Doctrinal Mastery” in the App Store (Apple devices) and Google Play (Android devices). After students have downloaded the app, consider giving them a few minutes to work with the flashcards and quiz activities in the app.