Thursday, February 18, 2010

Romans 8:38-39

Romans 8:38-39 ~ For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If ever I was feeling that God did not love me or that I was worth less in his sight, I would open the scriptures to Romans and read these verses. Heavenly Father will do all that he can to help us enter His presence again.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gospel Principals: Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior

"Chapter 3: Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior," Gospel Principals, (2009, 13-16)


Goal of the Lesson

The lesson should give an opportunity to all to briefly recall the Plan of Salvation and then to understand the critical role Jesus Christ plays in that plan.

2 Nephi 25:23-26

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

"And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

"For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."


1. A Savior and Leader Was Needed
2. Jesus Christ Became Our Chosen Leader and Savior
3. The War in Heaven
4. We Have the Savior's Teachings to Follow


A Savior and Leader Was Needed

Rough outline of Plan of Salvation with Savior playing critical role in the plan

Why did we need to leave Heavenly Father's presence?

"The object of our earthly existence is that we may have a fulness of joy, and that we may become the sons and daughters of God, in the fullest sense of the word, being heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ [see Romans 8:14–17], to be kings and priests unto God, to inherit glory, dominion, exaltation, thrones and every power and attribute developed and possessed by our Heavenly Father. This is the object of our being on this earth. In order to attain unto this exalted position, it is necessary that we go through this mortal experience, or probation, by which we may prove ourselves worthy, through the aid of our elder brother Jesus.

The object of our being here is to do the will of the Father as it is done in heaven, to work righteousness in the earth, to subdue wickedness and put it under our feet, to conquer sin and the adversary of our souls, to rise above the imperfections and weaknesses of poor, fallen humanity, by the inspiration of Almighty God and his power made manifest, and thus become indeed the saints and servants of the Lord in the earth." (“Chapter 17: The Great Plan of Life and Salvation,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 147)

Why do we need a Savoir?

All of us will fall short of perfection.

"For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made." (Alma 34:9 emphasis added)

"When Adam intentionally and wisely partook of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, he brought upon all of us, his descendants, two deaths—the physical or “mortal death,” and the spiritual death or the banishment from the presence of the Lord.

"In God’s divine plan, provision was made for a redeemer to break the bonds of death and, through the resurrection, make possible the reunion of the spirits and bodies of all persons who had dwelt on earth.

"Jesus of Nazareth was the one who, before the world was created, was chosen to come to earth to perform this service, to conquer mortal death. This voluntary action would atone for the fall of Adam and Eve and permit the spirit of man to recover his body, thereby reuniting body and spirit. (“Chapter 3: Jesus Christ: My Savior, My Lord,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, (2006),22–33)

From the Book

"Jesus was willing to come to the earth, give His life for us, and take upon Himself our sins. He, like our Heavenly Father, wanted us to choose whether we would obey Heavenly Father’s commandments. He knew we must be free to choose in order to prove ourselves worthy of exaltation. Jesus said, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).

"Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came, saying, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). Satan wanted to force us all to do his will. Under his plan, we would not be allowed to choose. He would take away the freedom of choice that our Father had given us. Satan wanted to have all the honor for our salvation. Under his proposal, our purpose in coming to earth would have been frustrated (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay [2003], 207)." (“Chapter 3: Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior,” Gospel Principles, (2009),13–16)

One or Two Plans?

See "Lucifer's Plan"

Jesus Christ Became Our Chosen Leader and Savior

Passage of the Brother of Jared and Jesus Christ.

"And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

"Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters." (Ether 3:13-14)

Jesus declares His mission.

“I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. … And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:38, 40).

The War in Heaven

From the book

"Because our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior, Satan became angry and rebelled. There was war in heaven. Satan and his followers fought against Jesus Christ and His followers. The Savior’s followers “overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11)"

President Hinckley discusses this War in Heaven and how it continues today.

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

“And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7–9).

"That war, so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him. His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ."

"Notwithstanding the present strength of the Church, it seems that we are constantly under attack from one quarter or another. But we go on. We must go on. We have gone forward, and we will continue to go forward. In some seasons the issues are major. At other times they are only local skirmishes. But they are all part of a pattern.

"Opposition has been felt in the undying efforts of many, both within and without the Church, to destroy faith, to belittle, to demean, to bear false witness, to tempt and allure and induce our people to practices inconsistent with the teachings and standards of this work of God.

"The war goes on. It is as it was in the beginning. There may not be the intensity, and I am grateful for that. But the principles at issue are the same. The victims who fall are as precious as those who have fallen in the past. It is an ongoing battle. The men of the priesthood, with the daughters of God who are our companions and allies, are all part of the army of the Lord. We must be united. An army that is disorganized will not be victorious. It is imperative that we close ranks, that we march together as one. We cannot have division among us and expect victory. We cannot have disloyalty and expect unity. We cannot be unclean and expect the help of the Almighty." (Gordon B. Hinckley, “An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured,” Ensign, Jun 2007, 2–7)

We Have the Savior's Teachings to Follow

The War in Heaven continues today and will continue to the end of time. But we have the Savior's teachings to help us.

President Hinckley spoke in the October General Conference in 2001 … just a month after the September 11 attacks. In his closing remarks he said, "Now, brothers and sisters, we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God.

Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10)."


Bear testimony of the Savior and His mission.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lucifer's Plan

Over the years, I've listen to members debate about wheather there was one plan or two plans presented in the Pre-Existence.  Personally I've always believed that there were two plans presented.  But one year someone in Sunday School said that there was only one plan.  I'd never heard of this before, but after listening to him (and others through the years), it makes sense to me.  Both ideas are appealing, but it all really is a matter of wordsmithing.

Here are some quotes I've gathered on the subject.

Quotes about Lucifer's/Satan's Plan


I wish to state the faith, the belief, and the knowledge of the Latter-day Saints regarding Jesus of Nazareth.

We accept literally the words of John concerning the Christ: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Christ has declared in our own day: "I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn."

We also accept John's declaration that Jesus Christ was the Creator of the world, that "all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

We believe that in the Great Council in Heaven held before the world was, Satan proposed one plan for creation and ruling the world and its progeny, and that Christ proposed another; that Satan's plan was rejected, as taking away the agency of man, and Christ's was accepted as keeping man's agency.

We believe that in obedience to the plan, Christ created the world and all that in it is, first spiritually, then temporally, and that in this work of creation he acted as one of the Great Trinity of three distinct Personages, the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ( J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Behold the Lamb of God, p. 355).


Sometimes in our gospel discussions we recall the presentation of Satan's plan in the preexistence: "I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." (Moses 4:1.) We usually say the problem with Satan's plan was that he "sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him." (Moses 4:3.)

We might also ask why agency matters so much.

Agency is important not only in representing the abstract principle of free will. Without agency, we cannot develop the skills that are essential to the growth we must experience to return to God's presence. It is simply impossible. A horse can be led to water, but he cannot be forced to drink. A child can be given a book, but she will never learn to read unless she voluntarily makes an effort to read. Satan's plan could not have worked. His claim of guaranteeing, regardless of our choices, that not one soul would be lost was like most of his claims: it was a lie (Bruce C. Hafen, THE BELIEVING HEART, p. 49).


Who is the author of the program that thus dresses up evil and the wrong to become so desirable to our appetites? When there was war in heaven, Lucifer, a son of God in the spirit world before the earth was formed, proposed a plan under which mortals would be saved without glory and honor of God. The plan of our Savior, Jehovah, was to give to each the right to choose for himself the course he would travel in earth life, and all was to be done to the honor and glory of God our Heavenly Father. Jehovah's plan was accepted; Satan's plan was rejected (Harold B. Lee, Stand ye in Holy Places, p. 219 see also Harold B. Lee, “‘Successful’ Sinners,” Ensign, Jul 1971, 2).


Free agency, given us through the plan of our Father, is the great alternative to Satan's plan of force. With this sublime gift, we can grow, improve, progress, and seek perfection. Without agency, none of us could grow and develop by learning from our mistakes and errors and the mistakes and errors of others (James E. Faust, Reach up for the Light, p.105).


Man's free agency is an eternal principle of progress, and any form of government that curtails or inhibits its free exercise is wrong. Satan's plan in the beginning was one of coercion, and it was rejected because he sought to destroy the agency of man which God had given him (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 312).


It is evident that the spirits of all men existed in the presence of God before this world was created, and that they counseled together regarding the creation of the earth upon which they might dwell. Because the plan of Jesus Christ was accepted, giving man his free agency, and because Satan's plan was rejected, Lucifer rebelled and was cast out of heaven. A third of the spirits followed him and were cast out with him, as the scriptures attest (LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p. 275).


Satan's plan of compulsion, whereby all would be safely conducted through the career of mortality, bereft of freedom to act and agency to choose, so circumscribed that they would be compelled to do right—that one soul would not be lost—was rejected; and the humble offer of Jesus the Firstborn—to assume mortality and live among men as their Exemplar and Teacher, observing the sanctity of man's agency but teaching men to use aright that divine heritage—was accepted. The decision brought war, which resulted in the vanquishment of Satan and his angels, who were cast out and deprived of the boundless privileges incident to the mortal or second estate (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 8).


No person, by any decree of the Father, has ever been compelled to do good; no person has ever been forced to do evil. Each may act for himself. It was Satan's plan to destroy this agency and force men to do his will. There could be no satisfactory existence without this great gift (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 2, p. 20).


Our agency, given us through the plan of our Father, is the great alternative to Satan’s plan of force. With this sublime gift, we can grow, improve, progress, and seek perfection. Without agency, none of us could grow and develop by learning from our mistakes and errors and those of others. (James E. Faust, “The Forces That Will Save Us,” Ensign, Jan 2007, 4–9 see also James E. Faust, “‘The Great Imitator’,” Ensign, Nov 1987, 33)


Satan had his own plan. He proposed to save all the spirit children of God, assuring that result by removing their power to choose and thus eliminating the possibility of sin. When Satan’s plan was rejected, he and the spirits who followed him opposed the Father’s plan and were cast out. (Dallin H. Oaks, “‘The Great Plan of Happiness’,” Ensign, Nov 1993, 72)


Satan also has a plan. It is a cunning, evil, subtle plan of destruction. It is his objective to take captive the children of Father in Heaven and with every possible means frustrate the great plan of happiness. (Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 73)


At the council in heaven, two plans were presented for man’s salvation. Christ’s plan was approved and he was chosen as the Savior of the world; and Satan’s plan was rejected and he rebelled. (N. Eldon Tanner, “‘Where Art Thou?’,” Ensign, Dec 1971, 32)


Isaiah speaks further concerning that great conflict (see Isa. 14:12–20). Modern revelation gives additional light (see D&C 76:25–29), as does the book of Moses (see Moses 4:1–4), which tells of Satan’s plan to destroy the agency of man. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “War and Peace,” Ensign, May 2003, 78)

Quotes about One Plan, but Satan's Attempt to Alter it


Contention existed before the earth was formed. When God’s plan for creation and mortal life on the earth was first announced, sons and daughters of God shouted for joy. The plan was dependent on man’s agency, his subsequent fall from the presence of God, and the merciful provision of a Savior to redeem mankind. Scriptures reveal that Lucifer sought vigorously to amend the plan by destroying the agency of man. Satan’s cunning motive was unmasked in his statement:

“Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.” (Moses 4:1.)

Satan’s selfish efforts to alter the plan of God resulted in great contention in heaven. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:

“Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 357.)

This war in heaven was not a war of bloodshed. It was a war of conflicting ideas—the beginning of contention.

Scriptures repeatedly warn that the father of contention opposes the plan of our Heavenly Father. Satan’s method relies on the infectious canker of contention. Satan’s motive: to gain personal acclaim even over God Himself. (Russell M. Nelson, “The Canker of Contention,” Ensign, May 1989, 68)


From the time of the premortal council, in which Jesus became the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind, through his millennial reign, he has and will persevere in perfection, doing all that his Father commanded. Because of his love for us, he offered to fulfill the plan of salvation with these words, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2). How different from Satan’s response to the plan: “I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; … give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). The conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil persists in the world today—with Jesus persevering in striving to save souls, and Satan striving to destroy them. (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Never Give Up,” Ensign, Nov 1987, 8)