“Unit 1: Day 2, The Plan of Salvation,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 1: Day 2,” Old Testament Study Guide
This lesson provides a brief overview of our Heavenly Father’s plan for the salvation of His children, highlighting the three main elements of the plan—the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is filled with truths about Heavenly Father’s plan. Each of the elements you study today will be taught in more depth in the coming lessons for the books of Moses, Genesis, and Abraham.
Think about times when you have worked to become better in some way. For example, you may have worked to better your skill in a particular sport or art. Or, in an effort to be more positive, you may have worked to speak more kindly about others or use more uplifting language.
- In your scripture study journal, explain how you worked to better yourself and how it felt to accomplish your goal.
We have been improving and progressing since before we were born. In this lesson you will have an opportunity to think about how you can become what Heavenly Father wants you to become.
- Copy the accompanying diagram in your scripture study journal, and add to it as you move through the lesson. Under the diagram, describe what you know about our premortal life. Before you write, read the “Premortal Life” section in the Basic Doctrines document (found in the introductory materials of this manual) or the paragraphs about premortal life in the “Plan of Salvation” section in True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (, 115–16; also on LDS.org). Look for truths that help you understand who you are and what your purpose is here on earth.
We began to develop our personal identities and abilities even before we were born. We also chose to follow our Heavenly Father and progress toward eternal life even though Lucifer and many others chose to rebel against Him.
In the premortal life, how were we different from our Heavenly Father?
Read Moses 1:39, and identify Heavenly Father’s purposes for His children.
Using what you found in this verse, complete the following doctrine: Heavenly Father’s purpose for his children is for them to receive . You may want to mark the words that teach this doctrine in your scriptures.
The following definitions will help you understand this doctrine: Immortality means living forever with a resurrected body. Eternal life means becoming like our Heavenly Father and being able to live as families eternally in His presence.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that “eternal life is the name given to the kind of life that our Eternal Father lives. … God’s life is eternal life; eternal life is God’s life—the expressions are synonymous” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 237).
On the diagram in your scripture study journal, label the right side of the oval Eternal Life. We were unable to progress further in our premortal life without additional help from Heavenly Father. We participated in a grand council of spirits before we were born. There Heavenly Father presented His plan for our immortality and our progression toward eternal life.
Heavenly Father’s plan consists of three main elements that make it possible for us to become like Him. Read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Look for the three essential elements of Heavenly Father’s plan, and list them under “Essential Elements of God’s Plan” in your scripture study journal.
“A great council in heaven was once convened, in which it seems that all of us participated. There our Heavenly Father announced His plan. … The enabling essence of the plan is the atonement of Jesus Christ. As it is central to the plan, we should try to comprehend the meaning of the Atonement. Before we can comprehend it, though, we must understand the fall of Adam. And before we can fully appreciate the Fall, we must first comprehend the Creation. These three events—the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement—are three preeminent pillars of God’s plan, and they are doctrinally interrelated” (“Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 33).
- Use the Basic Doctrines document (found in the introductory materials of this manual) or True to the Faith (see LDS.org) and study the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As you study, answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How do these three essential elements of Heavenly Father’s plan help us to receive immortality and eternal life?
What would happen if any one or all of these elements of the plan were missing?
- On your diagram, label the circle underneath the oval Earth. Draw an arrow from the “Premortal Life” side of the oval to “Earth” to represent leaving our premortal life to be born on earth. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What difference does it make in your life to know about the Creation and how it fits into the plan of salvation?
What difference does it make in your life to know about the Fall and how it fits into the plan of salvation?
What difference does it make in your life to know about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it fits into the plan of salvation?
On your diagram, write Mortal Life in the circle representing the earth. Mortal life provides a way for us to progress toward immortality and eternal life. When we are born into mortality, we receive a body and have experiences that allow us to develop faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ showed us how to progress through mortality toward eternal life (see 2 Nephi 31:7–10; John 14:6).
On your diagram, draw an arrow from “Mortal Life” to “Eternal Life.” Then read the following statement by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looking for what he said we must do in mortality to progress toward eternal life:
“There are two purposes for life in mortality. The first is that we might gain experiences that we could not obtain in any other way. The second is to obtain tabernacles of flesh and bones. Both of these purposes are vital to the existence of man. We are now being tried and tested to see if we will do all the things the Lord has commanded us to do. These commandments are the principles and ordinances of the gospel, and they constitute the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every principle and ordinance has a bearing upon the whole purpose of our testing, which is to prepare us to return to our Heavenly Father and become more like Him. …
“… Only through the gift of the Atonement and our obedience to the gospel can we return and live with God once again” (“The Plan of Salvation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 71).
- In your scripture study journal, write a principle that answers the following question: What must we do to progress toward eternal life? (Write your answer next to the circle representing the earth in your diagram.)
Consider how obeying Heavenly Father’s commandments helps us become more like Him.
List a few commandments or standards that have helped you become a better person:
Think about which commandments or standards you may need to obey more fully. You may want to write a goal to help you obey one of those commandments or standards more fully.
Every effort you make to be more obedient to the commandments brings you closer to your Heavenly Father and a life like He lives.
- Choose an aspect of Heavenly Father’s plan from today’s lesson that you feel strongly about. In your scripture study journal, write a brief testimony of that part of the plan.
As you study the Old Testament this year, you will have opportunities to learn more truths about Heavenly Father’s plan and deepen your testimony of His plan.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied “The Plan of Salvation” lesson and completed it on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: