“The Plan of Salvation,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material (2016)
“The Plan of Salvation,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material
Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.
Point out that many people throughout the world do not have an accurate or thorough understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. However, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed with a knowledge of scriptures and teachings of prophets that help us understand Heavenly Father’s plan.
Invite students to draw a picture of the plan of salvation that includes premortal life, mortal life, and life after death. After they have finished, divide the students into pairs, and ask them to read doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, looking for additional details they can add to their drawings. Have them explain to their partner any additional details they found and how those details help us further understand God’s plan.
Invite students to look through doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and mark the statements of doctrine supported by scripture references from the New Testament. These include the following:
To fulfill this plan and become like our Father in Heaven, we must come to know Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, and have a correct understanding of Their character and attributes (see John 17:3).
Our bodies are sacred and should be respected as a gift from our Heavenly Father (see 1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
Every person eventually will have the opportunity to learn the principles of the gospel and receive its ordinances and covenants. Many of the faithful will preach the gospel to those in spirit prison. Those who choose to receive the gospel, repent, and accept the ordinances of salvation that are performed for them in temples will dwell in paradise until the Resurrection (see 1 Peter 4:6).
Every person born on earth will be resurrected because Jesus Christ overcame physical death (see 1 Corinthians 15:20–22).
The Final Judgment will occur after the Resurrection. Jesus Christ will judge each person to determine the eternal glory that he or she will receive. This judgment will be based on each person’s desires and obedience to God’s commands (see Revelation 20:12).
There are three kingdoms of glory: the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom (see 1 Corinthians 15:40–42).
Choose some or all of the statements of doctrine and doctrinal mastery passages listed above for use in the following activity. If you choose to cover only a few of the statements, repeat the activity for the remaining statements of doctrine and doctrinal mastery passages on subsequent days.
Invite students to imagine they will be answering a friend’s questions about the plan of salvation. Assign students to work in pairs or small groups to study the doctrinal mastery passages you selected. Write the following questions on the board for students to discuss as they study each passage:
After sufficient time, invite several students to report their answers to the entire class. To promote further discussion and understanding, you may want to ask additional questions such as the following:
Why are these doctrines important for us and others in the world to understand?
What questions about our Heavenly Father’s plan do these doctrines answer?
Write each of the following questions on a separate index card or piece of paper and place the cards face down on a table in the classroom:
If a person must accept the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved, what happens to people who died never knowing about the gospel?
Who will be resurrected?
Why should I be grateful for my body even though it may have problems?
I’ve heard that all people will eventually go to either heaven or hell. Is that true?
What is the most important knowledge I can gain?
How will my choices in this life affect what happens to me after I die?
As needed, review the New Testament doctrinal mastery passages associated with doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation.” You may want to write the references to these passages on the board: John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; 1 Corinthians 15:20–22; 1 Corinthians 15:40–42; 1 Peter 4:6; Revelation 20:12.
Assign students to work in pairs. Invite one pair to come to the front of the class. Explain that the rest of the class represents friends who have questions about the teachings of the Church. The cards on the table represent these friends’ questions about the plan of salvation. Invite the pair to consider how they can respond to these questions using the doctrinal mastery passages and statements of doctrine they have learned concerning the plan of salvation. Have the pair choose a card, have another student in the class read the question, and then allow the pair to answer the question by using the doctrinal mastery passages. Repeat the activity with other pairs of students answering the questions. (Note: To break this activity into smaller time allotments, you might consider answering one or more of these questions on different days, rather than all in one activity.)
Conclude by asking students how their understanding and testimony were strengthened during the activity.
Using the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, help students practice using the three principles—act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources—and applying them to the statements of doctrine they have learned regarding the plan of salvation. The following activities can help you accomplish this. These activities can be taught on the same day or on different days, depending on your schedule and the needs of your students.
Read aloud the following statement, and invite students to imagine that it is a social media post:
“I don’t understand Mormons. Why do they live with so many restrictions—no tattoos or alcohol, abstinence before marriage, only modest clothes? I say it’s your body and it’s your life. If you’re not hurting anyone else, do what you want to do. Mormons need to loosen up.”
Invite students to write a response to this social media post. Ask them to use 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 and the three principles of Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge in their responses. Write the principles on the board:
To help students practice seeking further understanding through divinely appointed sources, consider inviting them to look for additional scripture passages in the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, or Guide to the Scriptures. They could also look for statements from Church leaders that explain the sacredness of our bodies. If available, they could use electronic devices to search LDS.org, or they could look for these statements in copies of the Church magazines. You might read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as an example:
“Those who believe that our bodies are nothing more than the result of evolutionary chance will feel no accountability to God or anyone else for what they do with or to their body. We who have a witness of the broader reality of premortal, mortal, and postmortal eternity, however, must acknowledge that we have a duty to God with respect to this crowning achievement of His physical creation. In Paul’s words:
“‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
“‘For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s’ (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
“Acknowledging these truths … , we would certainly not deface our body, as with tattoos; or debilitate it, as with drugs; or defile it, as with fornication, adultery, or immodesty. As our body is the instrument of our spirit, it is vital that we care for it as best we can. We should consecrate its powers to serve and further the work of Christ” (“Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 17).
When students finish writing, invite them to read their responses to another class member and discuss how they used the three principles in responding to the question in the post. Invite them to share some of their responses with the class and discuss how these responses exemplified the principles of Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge.
Conclude by inviting students to consider how they might better live according to the doctrine they reviewed today.
Review briefly with students the New Testament doctrinal mastery passages that help explain the doctrine of the plan of salvation. Then invite a student to read aloud the following scenario to the class. Ask the class to consider how the doctrines of the plan could help José with his choices:
“Faster,” the coach yelled at José, who had just missed his chance to score a goal. José’s friend Sylvia watched him walk back to the bench, clearly frustrated. She knew how much he wanted to perform well. He had worked hard to make the soccer team. He was not the fastest or the strongest on the team, but he had unique skills that impressed the coaches.
José and Sylvia had been friends ever since he moved into her ward a few years ago. She had been impressed not only by his kindness, but also his commitment to his priesthood duties. She was grateful to have a friend who shared her beliefs.
Sylvia watched as José pulled his water bottle from his bag and picked out one of the green pills now exposed at the bottom of the bag. She frowned as she saw him take the pill and wash it down with a few gulps of water. Some of his friends on the team had given him the illegal enhancers a few days ago. José said he felt stronger in his performance since he started taking them.
Sylvia had also seen him take one earlier that morning, and now she decided to say something to him. “You know it’s not right to take those,” she told him, “and if the coach finds out, you’ll be off the team for sure.”
“It’s not that big of a deal,” he replied. “It’s my body, and I’ll stop once I catch up to the other guys in strength and speed. Let’s talk about something else.”
What struggles do you see in this scenario?
What might be wrong with how José is thinking and behaving?
How do you think Sylvia sees the situation?
After students answer these questions, remind them of the three principles of Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.
Consider having two students role-play a continuation of the scenario—one being Sylvia and the other being José. Invite the student who role-plays Sylvia to demonstrate how to use one or more of the three principles of Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge to help José reconsider his choices. Invite the student who role-plays José to respond in a thoughtful and genuine manner.
After the role play, invite the rest of the class to identify the principles that were demonstrated. You might also have the class suggest how the principles could be further implemented in the role play.
Encourage students to share their testimonies of the doctrine and principles taught in this activity.
Doctrinal mastery passages should be reviewed on subsequent days to help students remember and be able to use them. Look for opportunities to review these scripture passages throughout the school year.
The following activity is designed to help students remember the six New Testament doctrinal mastery passages listed in doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. However, you could adapt this activity to include other doctrinal mastery passages students have learned this school year.
Correct the quiz as a class so you can answer questions or offer further explanations about the passages.
Encourage students to memorize these references and key phrases. You might quiz students on these passages in other ways during the next few weeks.