A comprehensive understanding of the Plan of Redemption, or the Great Plan of Happiness, which consists of these distinctive truths: that all lived premortally as offspring of heavenly parentage; this earth was purposefully created for our benefit and testing; that Adam and Eve purposefully “fell” in order that “men might be”; that agency was given to each; that the mission and atonement of Jesus Christ was perfectly accomplished; that the gospel of Jesus Christ and its saving ordinances are available to all; and that there will be a universal resurrection, an equitable judgment for all, and a consignment to degrees of glory based on our response to the Savior’s requirements for salvation and exaltation. The purpose of the plan is to bring us joy. “Happiness,” said the Prophet, “is the object and design of our existence.” — “His name to endure forever,” Church News, July 16, 1994, p. 5
We are all of us passing rapidly to that time when we will be called hence. If we did not understand that there is a future life, if we did not realize that there is something more than the influence that we have received thus far, if there was not anything but the vanity and vexation of life for us to live for, there are many, it seems to me, who would grow weary in the struggle that is to be made for existence here. But in the mercy of our Heavenly Father he has bestowed upon us the most wonderful gifts that come to human kind.
The Lord has blessed us with a knowledge that he lives, and has a body, and that we are created in his image. We do not believe that he is some kind of essence or that he is incomprehensible. If you have received the witness that has come to me and know as I know that our Heavenly Father has revealed himself to the children of men, that he is a personal God, that we are created in his image, that our spirits were begotten by him, that he has given us an opportunity to dwell upon the earth to receive a physical tabernacle, in order that we may be prepared to return into his presence and live eternally with him, I say, if you have received that assurance, then you have a foundation upon which you may build your faith. Take that from you, the knowledge that God really lives, the assurance that Jesus Christ was the manifestation of God in the flesh, take from you the assurance that there will be a literal resurrection from the dead, and you will find yourselves in the condition that our Father’s children are in throughout the world, and I ask you, what comfort remains to you then? These are the truths that are fundamental. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, Ch. 7, “The Immortality of the Soul”
If you understand the great plan of happiness and follow it, what goes on in the world will not determine your happiness. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1994, p. 20
An understanding of Christ’s plan of redemption helps put [personal suffering] into perspective. In our preexistent state our Father in Heaven presented His plan for mortality, which Alma described as the “plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). I believe we all understood that by coming to earth, we would be exposed to all of the experiences of earth life, including the not-so-pleasant trials of pain, suffering, hopelessness, sin, and death. There would be opposition and adversity. And if that was all we knew about the plan, I doubt if any of us would have embraced it, rejoicing, “That’s what I have always wanted – pain, suffering, hopelessness, sin, and death.” But it all came into focus, and it became acceptable, even desirable, when an Elder Brother stepped forward and offered that He would go down and make it all right. Out of pain and suffering He would bring peace. Out of hopelessness He would bring hope. Out of transgression He would bring repentance and forgiveness. Out of death He would bring the resurrection of lives. And with that explanation and most generous offer, each and every one of us concluded, “I can do that. That is a risk worth taking.” And so we chose. — Elder Richard C. Edgley, “For Thy Good,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 65
This earth is not our home. We are away at school, trying to master the lessons of “the great plan of happiness” so we can return home and know what it means to be there. Over and over the Lord tells us why the plan is worth our sacrifice – and His. Eve called it “the joy of our redemption.” Jacob called it “that happiness which is prepared for the saints.” Of necessity, the plan is full of thorns and tears – His and ours. But because He and we are so totally in this together, our being “at one” with Him in overcoming all opposition will itself bring us “incomprehensible joy.” — Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “The Atonement: All For All,” Ensign, May 2004
If the Lord has revealed to the world the plan of salvation and redemption from sin, by which men may be exalted again into his presence and partake of eternal life with him, I submit, as a proposition that cannot be controverted, that no man can be exalted in the presence of God and attain to a fulness of glory and happiness in his kingdom and presence, save and except he will obey the plan that God has devised and revealed. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 99
We accept without reservation the scriptural teachings that Christ is the Son of God and that he came into the world to ransom men from the spiritual and temporal death brought into the world by the fall of Adam. No one can state too plainly or emphasize too strongly this eternal truth that salvation is in Christ and that it comes because of his atoning sacrifice. Nor can we set forth too clearly the gospel truth that we also must do certain things to be saved. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Plan of Salvation,” Ensign, November 1971
The Plan of Salvation: Now, this plan was to enable his spirit children to grow from their primeval spirit state to a state of glory and dignity and exaltation so that they would be like him – like the Father. The name of the kind of life that God the Father lives is eternal life. This name describes wholly and completely the nature and kind of life he possesses; his life includes having power and dominion, might and glory and omnipotence, and also it includes living in the family relationship. In God’s instance, we were among his spirit offspring.
Well, this plan was ordained. This system was given to us, and for an infinite period of time, we advanced and progressed and did things that enabled us to go along the course leading to exaltation and dominion and godhood. The whole system and philosophy of true and revealed religion consists in progressing toward exaltation. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Making Our Calling and Election Sure,” BYU Devotional, March 25, 1969
How can we give to the Lord? What shall we give to him? Every kind word to our own, every help given them, is as a gift to God, whose chief concern is the welfare of his children. Every gentle deed to our neighbor, every kindness to the poor and suffering, is a gift to the Lord, before whom all mankind are equal. Every conformity to the Lord’s plan of salvation – and this is of first importance – is a direct gift to God, for thereby we fit ourselves more nearly for our divinely planned destiny.
The desire and the effort to give to the Lord, born of the surrender of man to the plan of salvation, stamp every Christmas gift with genuine value. They who identify themselves with the plan, who do not resist it, who earnestly seek to tread the path of the plan, are true givers to the Lord, and their gifts to men come with the flavor of heaven. The Lord and his plan must have place in our Christmas celebration. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Ensign, December 1972, p. 4
No one can state too plainly or emphasize too strongly this eternal truth that salvation is in Christ and that it comes because of his atoning sacrifice. Nor can we set forth too clearly the gospel truth that we also must do certain things to be saved.
We must believe in Christ and pattern our lives after him. We must be baptized as he was baptized. We must worship the Father as he did. We must do the will of the Father as he did. We must seek to do good and work righteousness as he did. He is our Exemplar, the great Prototype of salvation. . . . we must so live as to acquire the attributes of godliness and become the kind of people who can enjoy the glory and wonders of the celestial kingdom. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Plan of Salvation,” Ensign, November 1971