Conference Talk: "The Plan of Salvation: A Flight Plan for Life" by Duane B. Gerrard, October 1997 general conference.
Thought: "What a great and wonderful plan is the plan of salvation, which . . . teaches true principles to allow completion of our journey through life (Duane B. Gerrard, "The Plan of Salvation: A Flight Plan for Life," Ensign, Nov. 1997, 77).
Song: "I Lived in Heaven," Children's Songbook, p. 4.
Scripture: "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).
Take turns reading Alma 12:25-33 and have your family look for and mark the phrase that is repeated seven times. Ask your family to list other names they know of for this plan. Share the following statement: "In the scriptures we read of the many names of the plan: 'the great plan of happiness,' `the plan of redemption,' 'the merciful plan of the great Creator,' 'the plan of salvation,' 'the plan of justice,' and 'the great plan of the Eternal God'" (L. Aldin Porter, "Our Destiny," Ensign, November 1999, p. 65).
Not long ago, I drove several young men and their leaders to the beginning of a great trail. They were headed for a 50-mile hike. As we neared the drop-off point, leaders began reminding the youth of details about their journey. Each young man was studying the map and seemed sobered by the dramatic changes in elevation along the trail. One of the leaders talked about his firsthand knowledge of the adventure and the dangers that lay ahead. He assured the boys that the plan for the trip had been carefully prepared, and that no matter what they would face—fatigue, pain, rodents, rain, and so forth—they would enjoy the experience. One of the boys was my son. I had a father's concern, but I was grateful that there were faithful leaders, loyal friends, and, above all, a plan. It had been taught to the boys and reviewed before the trip began. It would be reviewed and followed along the way. Understanding the overall plan, seeing how each leg of the journey helped the group reach its goal, and having trustworthy, wise, and experienced guides inspired my confidence that the hike would be successfully completed.
I picked up my van load of boys a week later. They were dirty and tired, and some had scrapes and bumps. But without exception, they were glad they had the experience. They had experienced bruises, rodents, rain (almost perpetually), and many other things. The valleys and hills had presented inclines so steep they appeared impossible to ascend. Yet they spoke of their experience with enthusiasm and wonder. They had endured to the end and reveled in the joy of accomplishing something that seemed beyond the limits of their natural abilities. They had been well prepared and had followed their plan. Loving leaders had guided them along the way.
As I consider the confidence those boys had, I also consider the confusion and frustration faced by many who are journeying through life without a secure knowledge of the plan of life. They struggle without a sense of eternal purpose. Teaching, understanding, and following the "great plan of happiness" is a key to journeying safely through mortality (Robert England Lee, "Teaching Our Children the Plan of Salvation," Ensign, Sept. 2001, 33).
Explain to your family that you are going to play a game that will give them an opportunity to show their understanding of the plan. Divide your family into two teams. Tell them you are going to say a word or phrase that appears in Alma 12:19-37. The object of the game is to see which team can be the first to find the word or phrase in a verse. Have them raise their hands when they find it. Call on the first person to tell what verse it is in. Someone else on the same team must then tell how that word or phrase fits into the plan of redemption. Examples of words and phrases to be used are given below. Choose ones that you feel will be at the appropriate level for your family.
- Fall (verse 22)
- Tree of life (verses 21, 23, 26)
- Probationary state (verse 24)
- Resurrection (verses 24-25)
- Temporal death (verse 24)
- First parents (verse 26)
- Judgment (verse 27)
- Commandments (verses 31-32)
- Repent (verses 33, 37)
- Only Begotten Son (verses 33-34)
- Rest (verses 34-37)
Explain to your family that entering into the "rest of God" means entering into "the fullness of his glory" (see D&C 84:24), or eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God (see D&C 14:7). Conclude by having your family read Alma's challenge in Alma 12:37. Bear testimony of the importance of accepting this challenge.
(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 173.)