Lesson 11: Teaching the Plan of Salvation (Part 2)
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“Lesson 11: Teaching the Plan of Salvation (Part 2)” Missionary Preparation Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 11,” Missionary Preparation


Teaching the Plan of Salvation (Part 2)


The plan of salvation provided a Savior to overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam. Through the Savior’s Atonement, we can overcome death, sin, and sorrow. In addition, we will be resurrected and the righteous will return to God’s presence and become like Him. Prospective missionaries should have a clear understanding of the doctrine of the plan of salvation and be prepared to explain it simply and testify of it with power.

Advance Preparation

Suggestions for Teaching

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

Before class begins, write the following on the board:

“[John 3:16] summarizes the whole plan of salvation” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie).

When class starts, ask students to silently read John 3:16 and consider how this verse “summarizes the whole plan of salvation.”

After students have had a few moments to read and ponder, invite them to discuss how this scripture summarizes the plan of salvation. If needed, you might read the fuller statement on John 3:16 made by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

McConkie, Bruce R.

“This is perhaps the most famous and powerful single verse of scripture ever uttered. It summarizes the whole plan of salvation, tying together the Father, the Son, his atoning sacrifice, that belief in him which presupposes righteous works, and ultimate eternal exaltation for the faithful” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:144).

Have a student read aloud the first paragraph in the section “The Atonement” on page 51 of Preach My Gospel. Then ask:

  • How would you state, in a single sentence, why the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is so important for each of God’s children? (Student responses should include the doctrine that the Atonement of Jesus Christ made it possible for us to overcome the effects of the Fall.)

  • What are the effects of the Fall that we all experience? (The major effects are [1] physical death, [2] sin and spiritual death [separation from God], and [3] suffering and sorrow.)

As students reply, consider listing their responses in a column on the board under the heading “Effects of the Fall.” Then fill in a column to the right with the heading “How the Atonement overcomes the effects of the Fall” (or display this table using another method):

Effects of the Fall

How the Atonement overcomes the effects of the Fall

Physical Death

1 Corinthians 15:20–22

Alma 11:42–45

Preach My Gospel, 51, “The Atonement,” paragraph 2

Sin and Spiritual Death

Alma 34:8–9

D&C 19:15–19

Preach My Gospel, 51–52, “The Atonement,” paragraphs 3–5

Suffering and Sorrow

Isaiah 53:3–5

Alma 7:11–13

Preach My Gospel, 51–52, “The Atonement,” paragraph 6

Divide the class into thirds, and assign each third to study the references in one of the three categories on the chart. Ask students to prepare to share how the materials they studied help explain how the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcomes the effects of the Fall. Tell students that the scriptures on this chart are representative of many passages that could be used to illustrate the doctrine of the Atonement and that they should study additional passages for deeper understanding of this doctrine. After giving them sufficient time to study, invite a few students from each third of the class to explain what they studied and how it helps us understand how the Atonement can bless us.

Give students a few minutes to write down several sentences that summarize or outline what they would want to teach an investigator about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. After a few minutes, consider calling on a few students to read to the class what they wrote.

Invite the Spirit to help students feel the truth and importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ by showing the video “For God So Loved the World” (4:48). Have students look for ways that Jesus Christ demonstrated His love for the world.

After showing the video, ask:

  • What were some of the ways that Jesus Christ demonstrated His love for others?

  • How does this video help you to appreciate the Savior’s ministry and atoning mission?

Invite students to look back at what they wrote about the things they would want to teach an investigator about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Give them a few more minutes to write additional sentences that summarize what they believe and can testify of about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. After a few minutes, assign students to pair up with another member of the class and role-play with each other how they would testify to an investigator of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

After each student has had the opportunity to role-play, conclude this portion of the lesson by asking:

  • Why is it important for missionaries to regularly share their testimony of Jesus Christ with those they teach? (You may want to emphasize that one of the Holy Ghost’s roles is to testify of Jesus Christ [see John 15:26; 3 Nephi 11:32]; therefore, when we testify of Jesus Christ to others, we invite the Holy Ghost to confirm our witness in the hearts of those we are teaching.)

Encourage students to consider what they might do to deepen their gratitude for and testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Assure students that by deepening their testimony of the Savior they will become better prepared to invite others to come unto Christ.

Our Eternal Destiny

Refer students to the diagram found in the “Plan of Salvation” box on page 54 of Preach My Gospel. Invite students to first study the diagram and then draw their own version without looking at Preach My Gospel. Their own diagrams may take any form, as long as they include the major parts of the plan of salvation. Remind students that missionaries need to be able to explain the main elements of the plan of salvation in simple terms to an investigator.

To help students understand the content found in the three remaining sections of lesson 2 in Preach My Gospel (pages 52–53), ask students to take a few minutes to read the sections and identify doctrines, principles, and ideas that investigators need to know. As students read, display the section titles in a chart on the board:

What does an investigator need to know?

The spirit world

The Resurrection, the Judgment, and immortality

Kingdoms of glory

It may be helpful to have students study one section at a time and share doctrines, principles, or ideas that they identified before moving on to read the next section. You might invite a student to record class responses under the appropriate heading on the board. Consider asking students to copy the chart into their study journals and fill it in as the class discusses each section.

Questions like the following may help students analyze what they read:

  • What impact will our decisions here on earth have on us after we die?

  • How can our understanding of the Judgment affect our decisions now?

  • How does the Atonement of Jesus Christ affect each phase of our existence (premortal, mortal, and postmortal)?

  • Why is it important to be clear and simple when introducing these truths to others?

Explain to students that one of the important doctrines of the Restoration is that God’s children have the potential to become like Him. Our understanding of Heavenly Father provides us the hope that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can progress and receive the blessing of exaltation (see “Exaltation,” in Preach My Gospel, page 58). Even though we may one day become like God, we will always worship Him. Our progression will never change His identity as our Father and our God. (For more information on this subject, see the Gospel Topics article titled “Becoming Like God” on lds.org/topics.)

Divide the class into pairs, and invite each pair to prepare to teach someone about the purpose of life and what happens to us after we die. As they prepare, students should refer to pages 51–54 of Preach My Gospel or to pages 10–15 in the missionary pamphlet The Plan of Salvation, if it is available. Encourage students to use at least one scripture as they teach. Also encourage them to use the diagrams of the plan of salvation that they created or the diagram on page 54 of Preach My Gospel. Explain that their teaching should be simple and clear and should conclude with their testimony. Allow enough time for pairs to prepare to teach, and then invite each pair to team up with another pair. Assign one pair of students to teach the other two students.

As companionships conclude their teaching experience, have each group discuss the following among themselves: What went well in the teaching? How could the students who taught improve?

Then, switch roles and allow the students who were taught to teach the other pair of students. Make sure there is time for them to receive feedback. After each pair has taught, invite class members to share insights from their experiences with the rest of the class.

As time allows, conclude the lesson by bearing your testimony of the plan of salvation, or invite class members to do the same.

Invitations to Act

Invite students to choose one or more of the following activities to work on outside of class to deepen their understanding of the plan of salvation:

  • Practice drawing the diagram on page 54 of Preach My Gospel and explaining the main elements of the plan of salvation, using a scripture to support each element.

  • Consider how you might teach the plan of salvation in order to help someone who has recently lost a family member or loved one. Write a short summary or outline of your ideas in your study journal.

  • Study a talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ from a recent general conference address. Identify principles from the talk that will help you better understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Make a list of ways the Atonement blesses you daily.

  • Pray for the opportunity to share the plan of salvation with someone who could be blessed by better understanding Heavenly Father’s plan. Then act in faith and teach this doctrine to bless the life of the person.