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Truth And the Plan of Salvation

Unit 1
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS 200
1

DISCUSSION OF THINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE


As you follow this power point, three major doctrines/principles will be discussed:
1. The nature of our Father in Heaven, His creations, and how He became our Father. 2. The eternal nature of Gods children: You have always existed and have been given the privilege of advancing from one state to another by our Father in Heaven; ultimately, if we choose to follow truth, we can become like Him. 3. Truth: What is truth, and how do we separate eternal truth from todays supposed facts.

THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD


We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creators plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

DISCUSSION OF THINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE


The first section of this presentation will address the first two points of discussion concerning Gods eternal nature and the eternal nature of His children. Central to this discussion is the Great Plan of Happiness. As you read through the next few slides, consider the following questions: What is our Father in Heavens nature? How did God come to be God? What was mans beginning? What is mans eternal destiny? How does the Plan of Salvation help us realize our eternal destiny?

The Great Plan of Happiness Intelligence Spirit World Celestial R E S S U R E C T I O N

Veil

Earth Life

Paradise Spirit Prison

J U D G E M E N T

Terrestrial

Telestial

that the family is central to the Creators plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

No Glory
5

PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH


April 7, 1844 General Conference The Character of God In the first place, I wish to go back to the beginningto the morn of creation. There is the starting point for us to look to, in order to understand and be fully acquainted with the mind, purposes and decrees of the Great Elohim, who sits in yonder heavens as he did at the creation of this world. It is necessary for us to have an understanding of God himself in the beginning. If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it be a hard matter to get right. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves
6

MOSES GIVEN VISION OF THE ETERNAL NATURE


OF THE PLAN, GOD, AND MAN

Moses 1: 1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain, 2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

MOSES 1: CONT.

3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? 4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. 5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

MOSES VISION CONTINUED

Moses 1:8 8 And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.

THOUGHTS TO PONDER

Picture yourself as Moses, seeing the expanding universe. How would you feel? How would you respond? How would you feel about yourself?

MOSES VISION CONT.

Moses 1:27 27 And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God.

MOSES VISION CONT.

Moses 1:28 28 And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.

THOUGHTS TO PONDER

Having now seen the entire world from beginning to end, God now allows you to see the vastness of the universe. What are you thinking about? How would you respond? What would you want to know?

MOSES VISION CONTINUED


Moses 1:29-30 29 And he beheld many lands; [many earths] and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.

THOUGHTS TO PONDER

Moses grew up in one of the mightiest empires that has ever been on the earth. The great pyramids of Giza were over 1000 years old BEFORE Moses was even born!

Moses born

1571 BC

The Great Pyramid of Giza, in 2010. Built c. 2560 BC, it is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis

MOSES SUBMISSIVE TO THE TRUTH

Even for a man who had been a prince of Egypt and a great military leader, one mighty as to the strength of men, the comparison of all these things with the works of God made him feel quite small.
Robert

J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! , p.63

MOSES DECLARATION
Moses 1:10 10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

MOSES VISION CONTINUED


Moses 1:30 And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?

THOUGHTS TO PONDER:

Notice Moses two main questions after seeing this marvelous vision.

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
Moses recognized the great significance to this mortal, earthly state, but at the same time, He recognized the absolute submissiveness one needs to pay to the Father in order to return. Joseph Smith and others of the modern day Prophets, remind us that God Himself went through the same plan that we are now going through.

JOSEPH SMITH JR.

If Abraham reasoned thus--If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.

Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.373 28

JOSEPH SMITH JR.


God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. What did Jesus do? Why; I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same;

Teachings

of the Prophet Joseph Smith p.345, 347

ELDER BRUCE R. MCCONKIE

The Father is the author of the plan of salvation. Only the Father is or could be the author of the plan of salvation. He alone was in a position to ordain the laws and establish the system whereby his spirit children (Christ included!) could be saved. Others might perform labors for a portion or for all of the family of God, but only he could create salvation and specify how it might be gained. This concept becomes clear when we learn how God came to be God, how he gained his exaltation, and how he made provision for his spirit children to go and do likewise.

ELDER MCCONKIE CONT.

As to God's high status as an exalted man, as to how he attained this position of supreme eminence, and as to how we may pursue the same course to the same eternal destiny, the Prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed: "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret." Let all the saints ponder these words in their hearts; let them plead for enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; let them know that the concept involved opens the door to an understanding of the plan of salvation.

ELDER MCCONKIE CONT.

"If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible,-I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form-like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another." Oh, how great the importance to make these things known unto all men so that they no longer worship gods of their own

ELDER MCCONKIE CONT.

"It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God," the inspired word continues, "and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did." The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same.

ELDER MCCONKIE CONT.

"Here, then, is eternal life-to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power." (King Follett Address in History of the Church 6:305-6.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.59-65

BRIGHAM YOUNG

How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity. You cannot comprehend this, but when you can, it will be to you a matter of great consolation.
Brigham

Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe, p.22
35

BRIGHAM YOUNG

There never was a time when man did not exist, and there never will be a time when he will cease to exist. Eternity is without confines, and all things animate and inanimate have their existence in it. The Priesthood of God, that was given to the ancients and is given to men in the latter days, is co-equal in duration with eternity-is without beginning of days or end of life. It is unchangeable in its system of government and its Gospel of salvation. It gives to Gods and angels their supremacy and power, and offers wealth, influence, posterity, exaltations, power, glory, kingdoms and thrones, ceaseless in their duration, to all who will accept them on the terms upon which they are offered. 10:5.

Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe, p.49
36

THOUGHTS TO PONDER

Our Father in Heaven fully understands what it is that we need to do to become as Him because He went through the same program, as did His Father before Him. The eternal truths/laws of Plan of Salvation, have always been. The Plan that we are now going through was not implemented for the first time just for our world. It is The (only) Plan by which each intelligence must pass through in order to become a God.

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
As we review the Plan of Salvation, we are reminded that the Plan enables us to go from one state of being to another (from a premortal spirit being, to a mortal being, to a resurrected, exalted being). Though we change our state of being, our very essence and nature what the Lord calls intelligence, has always existed.

Intelligence Spirit World Celestial R E S S U R E C T I O N

Veil

Earth Life

Paradise Spirit Prison

J U D G E M E N T

Terrestrial

Telestial

that the family is central to the Creators plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

No Glory
39

INTELLIGENCE -- HAS ALWAYS BEEN

Your intelligence or essence has always existed. (D&C 93:29) You, as an entity, have always existed!

40

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
We were all in the beginning with God. Our Father progressed through the Plan prior to us. He then instituted the Plan of Salvation, whereby He provided everything we needed to progress just like He had done. We then are free to follow this eternal Plan and reap the rewards of faithful obedience just as Father had set the example for us.

DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 93:29

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created nor made, neither indeed can be.

42

DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 93:29

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created nor made, neither indeed can be.

43

PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH

We say that God himself is a self-existent being. Who told you so? It is correct enough; but how did it get into you heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles.

44

PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH


The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal (co-eternal) with God himself. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had not beginning, neither will it have an end. Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a selfexistent principle.

History

of the Church, VI:310-311


45

PRESIDENT LORENZO SNOW

In considering ourselves and how we have been organized and what we are doing, we discover that there is immortality connected with us. We are immortal beings. That which dwells in this body of ours is immortal, and will always exist. Our individuality will always continue. Eternities may begin, eternities may end, and still we shall have our individuality. Our identity is insured. We will be ourselves, and nobody else.
46

PRES. SNOW CONT.

Whatever changes may arise, whatever worlds may be made or pass away, our identity will always remain the same; and we will continue on improving, advancing and increasing in wisdom, intelligence, power and dominion, worlds without end. Our present advancement is simply a starting out, as it were, on this path of immortality. Whatever may have been our past, how long we may have existed before this, or whether there ever was a time when we did not exist, there is one thing sureour being in the future will never be annihilated, never destroyed. there is no such thing as our passing out of existence

Conference Report, 1901 April

47

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
It was our Father in Heaven that created gender specific spirit bodies so that we might begin our progression also through the Plan. The Proclamation teaches us that our gender is an eternal part of us. This important truth will be examined in our next Unit.

PRESIDENT MARION G. ROMNEY

In origin, man is a son of God. The spirits of men are begotten sons and daughters unto God (D&C 76:24). Through that birth process, self-existing intelligence was organized into individual spirit beings.
Pres.

Marion G. Romney, The Worth of Souls, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 14

49

ELDER NEAL A. MAXWELL

We do not know with any precision exactly what we "brought with us" from being intelligences as, later on, we become spirit sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. But we can scarcely blame God for our untoward propensities, for it is clear that God did not fashion us ex nihilio. Our intrinsic makeup is not His responsibility; there is no such "easy out" in the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the input from our intelligence state was a "given" within which God Himself had to workin which case it would help to explain why this proving estate is so vital and why our obedience to God is so important.

50

PRESIDENT SPENCER W. KIMBALL

God has taken these intelligences and given to them spirit bodies and given them instructions and training. Then he proceeded to create a world for them and sent them as spirits to obtain a mortal body, for which he made preparation. And when they were upon the earth, he gave them instructions on how to go about developing and conducting their lives to make them perfect, so they could return to their Father in heaven after their transitions.

51

PRES. KIMBALL CONT.

Then came the periods of time when souls were to be placed upon the earth and born to parents who were permitted to furnish the bodies. Remember what was said a while ago, that As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become. They (the spirit sons and daughters of God) came with the definite understanding that they could return to become like God and go forward in their great development and progress.

Pres. Spencer W. Kimball, Our Great Potential, Ensign, May 1977, 50 (April 1977 General Conference)

52

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
As you examine the following slides, we will focus on this important principle: Since all things are governed by eternal law, (D&C 130:20-21), our time to come to this earth and the conditions under which we came, were governed by individual obedience in the spirit world to the truths of eternal law.

OUR TIME AND PLACE ON EARTH WAS NOT ACCIDENTAL

PRESIDENT HAROLD B. LEE

It would seem very clear, then, that those born to the lineage of Jacob, who was later to be called Israel, and his posterity, who were known as the children of Israel, were born into the most illustrious lineage of any of those who came upon the earth as mortal beings.

55

PRESIDENT HAROLD B. LEE

All these rewards were seemingly promised, or foreordained, before the world was. Surely these matters must have been determined by the kind of lives we had lived in that pre-mortal spirit world. Some may question these assumptions, but at the same time they will accept without any question the belief that each one of us will be judged when we leave this earth according to his or her deeds during our lives here in mortality.

56

PRES. JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH

the laws of God are based on merit through faithful adherence to the prescribed laws of God. These divine laws have been in existence through the eternities. They have been tried and tested and proved to be just. No man can obtain salvation without a thorough trial of faith and obedience to the principles of eternal truth which have been established from the beginning for the salvation and exaltation of mankind.

Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:149

DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS 130:20-21

D&C 130:20 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated-D&C 130:21 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

ELDER BRUCE R. MCCONKIE

All men are the spirit children of the Eternal Father; all dwelt in his presence, awaiting the day of their mortal probation; all have come or will come to earth at an appointed time, in a specified place, to live among a designated people. In all of this there is no chance. All of these things operate by law; they are the out-growth of long years of personal preparation in preexistence on the part of each individual.

A New Witness for the Articles of Faith p. 512

59

THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM

In light of these Prophetic teachings, consider the circumstances of Abrahams birth: where, when, and to whom was Abraham born? What was the spiritual condition of his family and their neighbors? Yet, what do we learn about Abrahams premortal spiritual status from Abr. 3:23?
Remember, the Lord places spiritual pioneers in all nations, times, and peoples according to his great purposes we cannot judge someones premortal valiance on simply our limited interpretation of their birth circumstances!

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
The final point in our discussion is the nature of Eternal Truth. As you read through the following slides, consider these questions: Why is it so important that we know the nature of eternal truth prior to making decisions here in mortality? If we make decisions void of the understanding of truth, or act out contrary to truth we place in jeopardy our eternal quest of becoming like God.

TRUTH
What is Truth ? Where did Truth Originate ? How do we find Truth ? How do we know if it is Truth ?

62

DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS 93:24-25


24. And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; 25. And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.

ELDER BRUCE R. MCCONKIE

Truth is absolute and eternal; it endureth forever. (D. & C. 1:39; 88:66; Ps. 100:5; 117:2.) It never varies; what is true in one age is true in every age. The theories of men (scientific or otherwise) vary from discovery to discovery and are in a continuing state of flux, unless they chance on a particular point to reach ultimate truth. Then there is no more change, and the truth discovered is in complete harmony with every other truth in every other field. Truth never conflicts with truth.

PRESIDENT UCHTDORF

In a time when many perceive truth as relative, a declaration of absolute truth is not very popular, nor does it seem politically correct or opportune. Testimonies of things how "they really are" (Jacob 4:13) are bold, true, and vital because they have eternal consequences for mankind.
Uchtdorf,

Dieter F., The Power of a Personal Testimony , CR October 2006

HOW DO PERSPECTIVE & TRUTH RELATE?

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66

SPENCER W. KIMBALL
There are relative truths, and there are also absolute truths which are the same yesterday, today, and forevernever changing. These absolute truths are not altered by the opinions of men. As science has expanded our understanding of the physical world, certain accepted ideas of science have had to be abandoned in the interest of truth. Some of these seeming truths were stoutly maintained for centuries.
(Pres. Spencer W. Kimball, Absolute Truth, Ensign, Sept. 1978, 34)
67

RUSSELL M. NELSON
Another unchanging principle is that of truth. Scripture reminds us that "the truth abideth forever and ever" (D&C 1:39). Even though one's understanding of the truth may be fragmentary, truth itself does not change. Everlasting truth and wisdom come from the Lord. The first truth ever taught to man came directly from Deity. From generation to generation, God has given additional light. Whether truth comes from a laboratory of science or directly by revelation, truth is embraced by the gospel.
Constancy Amid Truth -October 1993 General Conference

68

BRUCE R. MCCONKIE
Truth is absolute and eternal; it endureth forever. It never varies; what is true in one age is true in every age. The theories of men (scientific or otherwise) vary from discovery to discovery and are in a continuing state of flux, unless they chance on a particular point to reach ultimate truth. Then there is no more change, and the truth discovered is in complete harmony with every other truth in every other field. Truth never conflicts with truth.

Truth is not relative; it is absolute. What is true in one eternity is true in the next.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 810-811
69

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
The only way to really know and understand truth is through revelation. Personal revelation having come in the proper manner is our assurance that the knowledge we have has eternal value.

PERSONAL REVELATION
Personal revelation is the key to FINDING and KNOWING Truth for our selves. D&C 8:2-3 I will tell you in your MIND and in your HEART, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation

71

JOSEPH SMITH JR.

The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.
Teachings

of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Four 183942, p.190

PRESIDENT BOYD K. PACKER

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73

THOUGHTS TO PONDER
Why have we been directed by living Prophets and Apostles to seek revelation for ourselves? Why must we gain an understanding of Eternal Truth for ourselves?

PRESIDENT JAMES E. FAUST

As a means of coming to truth, people in the Church are encouraged by their leaders to think and find out for themselves. They are encouraged to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to such knowledge of the truth as their own consciences, assisted by the Spirit of God, lead them to discover. Brigham Young said: I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him.

First Presidency Message The Truth Shall Make You Free, Ensign, Sept. 1998, 4
75

PRESIDENT BRIGHAM YOUNG


I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him.

76

PRESIDENT BRIGHAM YOUNG


I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way.

77

PRESIDENT BRIGHAM YOUNG

Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.
Journal of Discourses 9:150, Address at the Tabernacle January 12, 1862

78

PRESIDENT HAROLD B. LEE

The Prophet Joseph Smith, in his inspired version of that same scripture*, added these significant words: "who are the elect, according to the covenant" This is what has been said, in effect, in this conference: Unless every member of this Church gains for himself an unshakable testimony of the divinity of this Church, he will be among those who will be deceived in this day when the "elect according to the covenant" are going to be tried and tested. Only those will survive who have gained for themselves that testimony.

Conference Report, October 1950, p.129-31


JST Matt 24:23

23 For in those days, there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect 79 according to the covenant.

PRESIDENT HAROLD B. LEE

To me, there is a tremendous truth. It is not alone sufficient for us as Latter-day Saints to follow our leaders and to accept their counsel, but we have the greater obligation to gain for ourselves the unshakable testimony of the divine appointment of these men and the witness that what they have told us is the will of our Heavenly Father.

Conference Report, October 1950, p.129-31


80

ELDER NEAL A MAXWELL

One cannot survive in such an age either if he tries to build his spirituality with mere fragments of the faith, with doctrinal debris from other ages. He must have the whole truth (and nothing but the truth) as the foundation stones of his spirituality. Otherwise, he can become very confused about what truly matters.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward, p.18

ELDER NEAL A. MAXWELL

For us, however, clearly the earth never was the center of the universe, as many once provincially believed! Nor has it been many decades since many likewise believed our Milky Way Galaxy was the only galaxy in the universe. But the more we know, the more vital the why questions and the answers thereto become. Yet the answers to the why questions are obtainable only by revelations given by God the Creator, and more is yet to come:

Our Creators Cosmos CES Conference 13 August 2002, BYU

REVIEW: ETERNAL TRUTHS


1. 2.

3.

Father in Heaven is an exalted Man. As Gods children, we have been given the privilege of advancing from one state to another by obedience to our Heavenly Fathers plan; ultimately, if we choose to follow truth, we can become like Him. The nature of truth is to reveal things (relative to God and His plan for us as His children) past, present, and future. We can know these truths through the ministry of the Holy Ghost and avoid the deceptions of our