Mormon Doctrine – The Plan of Salvation
Mormon doctrine centers around the plan of salvation, which is God’s plan to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The plan of salvation, also called the plan of happiness, teaches us the purpose of life. The plan of salvation, according to Mormon doctrine, addresses where we came from, why we are here on earth, and where we are going after this life. It represents the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is experienced and lived by mankind.
Mormon doctrine teaches that the plan of salvation details for us how God is working to save His children and covers every aspect of our lives. The following list summarizes the stages of the Plan of Salvation and how a knowledge of this plan and of the purpose of life can help us understand our own lives better.
- Pre-Mortal Life
- As spirits, we lived with God in heaven as a family. However, we didn’t have bodies, like our Heavenly Father does, nor could we understand how to be perfect because we had never experienced adversity. Because He loves us and wants us to enjoy all the same blessings that He has, God devised a plan for us to go to Earth and pass through mortality so that we could learn how to be like Him. Jesus Christ offered to atone for our sins so that we could still return to Heavenly Father’s presence even though we would make mistakes. Although Satan suggested being our savior by taking away our agency and forcing us to be good, Christ and His followers prevailed, and the plan was put into action.
- Mortal Life
- On Earth, we learn how to navigate moral law, overcome trials, control our appetites, and many other things as we prepare to reenter our Father’s presence. Life is difficult in some way for everyone, but everything that we learn can help us become closer to Christ and our Father. When Christ suffered for our sins, died on the cross, and was resurrected, He paved a way for us to be cleansed of our sins and relieved of our burdens so that the pitfalls of mortality would not hinder our goal to return to Heavenly Father.
- Death and the Spirit World
- The spirit world is a place of respite between mortality and the final judgment of God. Those who died without a knowledge of the gospel will still have a chance to learn about and accept it, as they will have it taught to them by people who already do have it.
- Resurrection and Judgment
- When Christ returns to Earth, everyone who has ever lived will eventually be resurrected and brought before God to be judged for their mortal lives. People will be divided into three kingdoms–the telestial kingdom, which is said to have the glory of the stars and is reserved for those who lived wickedly; the terrestrial kingdom, which boasts the glory of the moon and consists of those who lived well but would not accept the fullness of the gospel of Christ; and the celestial kingdom, endowed with the glory of the sun and home to those who are accepted back into God’s presence while living eternally with their families.
Anita Stansfield began writing at the age of sixteen, and her first novel was published sixteen years later. For more than fifteen years she has been the number-one best-selling author of women’s fiction in the LDS market. Her novels range from historical to contemporary and cover a wide gamut of social and emotional issues that explore the human experience through memorable characters and unpredictable plots. She has received many awards, including a special award for pioneering new ground in LDS fiction, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Whitney Academy for LDS Literature, and also a Lifetime Achievement Award from her publisher, Covenant Communications. She has fifty-six published books. Anita is the mother of five, and has three grandchildren.