My undergraduate major at BYU was Anthropolology; one of my favorite topics was folklore, which for our purposes here means simply “oral history.” If the religious doctrine known as the Plan of Salvation were retold in traditional society, it might have the title cited above. These are a few notes about that plan.
Eliza R. Snow wrote, “I had learned to call thee Father, thru thy Spirit from on high, but until the key of knowledge was restored, I knew not why.” One of the most important of the “plain and precious” keys of knowledge that have been restored is the Plan of Salvation, also called the Plan of Happiness. Bits and pieces are scattered all through the scriptures and especially the apocrypha, but they are brought together into a coherent whole through Joseph Smith. As described anciently, they form a sort of Three Act Play:
Act I–Pre-mortal life, Pre-existence (Abr 3:18, gnolaum)
The Grand Council
Two Plans—the War in Heaven (Abr 3:27 and Moses 4:1-3)
Agency—“sons of god shouted for joy” (Job 38:7)
Act II–Mortal life—central role of the Savior (Alma 11:38-43)
Creation (Abr 3:22-26)
The Fall (2 Ne 2:25-27)
The Resurrection (1 Cor 15:20-22)
The Atonement (D&C 19:15-20, chiasm center on v17)
Act III–Post-mortal life, The Next Life
The Spirit World (Eccl 12:7)
An Anapausis (intermission) (D&C 138, esp 57)
Temple work (D&C 138:48 and 58)
Judgment (Alma 41:2-6 and Alma 12:14—words, works, thoughts)
The Degrees of Glory (1 Cor 15:40-42—sun, moon, stars—D&C 76)
One key to understanding The Plan is to better understand the nature of God. What is it that makes our Spirit Father, God?
All power? (might makes right?)
All knowledge? (a giant hard drive in the sky?)
Immortality? (He just keeps going like the Eveready bunny?)
He is a god of body, parts, and passions—Enoch, for instance, was puzzled to see that God weeps (Moses 7:28-40). Therein lies a clue.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might alive through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
(1 John 4:7-11)
So what was it that caused God to weep in front of Enoch—that His children did not love one another or Him. It is that quality of love that gives meaning and purpose to everything else, and accounts for His Great Plan of Happiness. (Moses 1:39) God wants us to freely love one another and Him as He loves us. I wrote earlier that “It’s all about liberty.” True enough, but the principle that underlies that principle is another sweeping statement: “It’s all about love.”