Guest Post: The Church Got the Plan of Salvation Wrong

The following guest post comes from Tex Benson.

I have lived in the south-eastern United States my entire life including my mission which was in Houston Texas. God bless Texas. Currently I am in my fourth year of school studying Civil Engineering and Military Science (Army ROTC). At church I serve as the Stake Young Single Adult Representative, which I hate, and I teach Elders Quorum once a month(ish), which I love.

Ok, not the whole Church, just the Mission Department and the Church Education System. I wanted an edgy title.

I realized this while I was on my mission but wasn’t really sure how to address it and the reason I am ranting about it now is because I am ashamed of myself. Recently I attended a Young Single Adult fireside and honestly this one was quite good, however it hit on a pet peeve of mine. Towards the end the Bishop who was teaching asked for a volunteer to come up and draw the Plan of Salvation on the board with the rest of the group assisting them on what to put in. Before the young man drew the Pre-Earth Life I knew what would happen, but I let it go to see if someone said something. I had enough confidence in this bishop to think that if no one else pointed out the problem he would at the end. Sadly, my faith was in vain. The typical Sunday school Plan of Salvation was put on the board complete with Outer Darkness, the War in Heaven, and the Veil. The only time Christ was mentioned as part of the plan was when a woman said “put an A by the Earth for the Atonement”. Sadly she was shouted down by an argument about the Veil of Forgetfulness and her A was never drawn. I had a difficult decision to make, do I call out a Bishop and everyone else or do I stay silent? I chose to stay silent.

For a room full of very bright and talented men and women, many of whom are return missionaries, to all make the same mistake is not a reflection of the individuals but a reflection of the society that raised them. The mistake was to forget Christ, our redeemer. A soul could follow the very journey that was laid out on that chalk board and end up in the highest levels of The Celestial Kingdom of God, Outer Darkness, or somewhere in between. The outline is not about salvation, it is about possible outcomes.

Another example of this happened during my freshman year of college while I was preparing to serve a mission. A Protestant friend of mine asked me how we are saved. I wasn’t exactly sure what he was asking but I heard the word “saved” so I thought I should tell him about the Plan of Salvation. Sadly the Plan of Salvation as presented in the Church manuals has nothing to do with salvation so he was just confused and I couldn’t figure out what he was asking about.

The fault in both these instances lays in the lesson manuals of the Church. The lessons that are titled “The Plan of Salvation” do not teach anything to do with our salvation. It instead teaches the eternal journey of the soul. We, as a Church, have affixed the concept of Salvation to a doctrine that is not about salvation. To refer to something as “The Plan of Salvation” and make no mention of Him who saved, or even the actual steps that lead to our salvation, is blasphemous and unscriptural. In the following scriptures Aaron is teaching King Lamoni’s Father about the Plan of Redemption.

13 And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name.

 14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

Alma 22:13-14

Notice that when Aaron taught the Plan of Redemption, also known as the Plan of Salvation, he doesn’t talk about the spirit worlds or suns, moons, and stars. He talks about Christ and His Atonement because that is where Salvation truly lies.  

This journey of the soul is important enough to be taught. It teaches us the purpose of life; who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. What it doesn’t do is teach us God’s plan for his children to receive salvation through the Atoning power of His Son. I am not saying that the Sunday school Plan of Salvation is incorrect, only that it is miss-labeled, because it does not teach the source of our salvation or the plan that has been carried out to bring us that salvation

If the Church wants to have a place based lesson for “The Plan of Salvation” it can title the lesson “The Plan of Salvation- the Story of Three Gardens” because that is where salvation really occurred, and the actions in these gardens are what brings us our salvation.

The first garden of course is The Garden of Eden where the journey of our salvation began and mankind transgressed the law and in so doing became as God knowing good and evil (see Gen. 3:22). When this original sin occurred mankind found himself in a fallen state needing to be saved from death, both physical and spiritual (see Gen. 2:17). As tragic as these consequences are if it wasn’t for this the Journey of the Soul would have never begun and that Sunday school Plan of Salvation would have started and stopped with the antemortal existence of spirits.

The next garden would of course be the Garden of Gethsemane, where the first of the two deaths was overcome. Christ our Lord offered Himself up as a great sacrifice for all sin. This allowed all mankind to be cleansed of sin and, if we chose, to return to the presence of the Father (see A of F 1:3). This sacrifice began in Gethsemane and was sealed with His holy blood on the cross at Golgotha when he “descended below all things” (D&C 88:6) again but this time without the support of the Holy Spirit and finally gave up the ghost. If not for the events in this garden and on the cross the Sunday school plan of salvation chart would end with the Spirit World but have not Paradise, only Prison.

The third and final garden would be the Garden Tomb where Christ’s body laid until he broke the bands of physical death, fully redeeming us from the Fall when He rose on the third day. Because of the actions in this garden the rest of the Sunday school plan of salvation was made possible.

I think it is safe to assume that every person attending the fireside knows where salvation lies. No one is going to argue that Christ is not Salvation, but suns, moons, and stars are. If the question was worded “Why did Christ die?” they would all answer with some variation of “for the sins of the world”. However when asked about what God’s plan to bring us salvation is no one can get it right. How can they get it right when they have been taught all their lives that a picture on the chalkboard of suns, moons, and stars is God’s plan for our salvation rather than being taught that God’s Son is that plan?

And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.

-2 Nephi 2:4

40 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Church Got the Plan of Salvation Wrong

  1. Tex, now you know why the Church did the seemingly innocuous and minor change on all its fonts to capitalize JESUS CHRIST in the Church’s official name. People get caught up in different kinds of heavens, and premortal existence, and they sometimes forget to mention the One who is behind it all, our Savior, Messiah and King.

  2. I think I’ve seen that innocuous change as well. 😉

    But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Mosiah 3:12

  3. Hmmm. Is it possible that the understanding of the Savior’s role in God’s plan of happiness is so well known that sometimes it goes without saying, and hence the drawing you describe? For The Plan as presented to us in the premortal existence, included the Savior and the elements of the chalkboard discussion.

    I’m not excusing the exclusion of the mention of the Savior in the discussion. Of course the scriptures clearly teach the Savior’s role, and we should teach the scriptures.

    Even the Primary song gets it right: “Jesus was chosen and as the Messiah He came / Conquering evil and death with His glorious name / Giving us hope for a wonderful life yet to be / Home in that heaven where Father is waiting for me.”

  4. Paul, you are of course that almost everybody who describes the Plan of Salvation is taking it as a given that the Savior is the driving force behind it. The issue is that making the Savior the center of such a description brings in the Spirit, which helps the Holy Ghost confirm the truth of such description.

  5. The same problem exists in the missionary lessons. Christ is talked about in every lesson but not the focus of any, including the pos lesson. So we can’t assume everyone knows. I many times finished the first lesson and the first question was do you believe in Christ? Also I met people who had talked to a single set of missionaries who said they never talked about Christ. This assumption that everyone knows we are talking about Christ while we talk around him is very dangerous.

  6. I don’t remember drawing up a plan that didn’t mention the Fall and the Atonement. At least when discussing the degrees of glory, how could Christ NOT be mentioned?

  7. When I taught early morning Seminary, we were asked to talk about the Plan of Salvation sometime during our first week. As you, I thought the circles drawing left something out, so my wife and I STRONGLY emphasized that this all worked only because we have a Savior who made it all possible for us to come, make mistakes and sin, repent, and be saved anyway. So I guess I’m saying I agree with you.

  8. Here is a post on LDS Philosopher that talks precisely about this:

    Nathan Richardson distinguishes between the “places” view and the “condition” view. The “places” view is never once outlined in its entirely in the scriptures. We’ve visualized it piecemeal from various disparate scriptural and revelatory sources. In contrast, the “condition” view is outlined in its entirety several times throughout the scriptures, and even labeled in the scriptures as the “plan of salvation.”

    All of the doctrines in the “places” view are important. But they aren’t the “plan of salvation.”

  9. I remember an institute teaching talking about the plan of salvation and saying that you will never find the circles in the scriptures. The plan of salvation is always explained in a journey – Adam and Eve, Nephi, Moses – leaving their homes, going through trials, being led by the spirit until ultimately finding the promised land. Trying to become one with Christ was always a major point of the narrative.

  10. #5 Tex: “The same problem exists in the missionary lessons.”

    From Preach My Gospel (the lesson on the Plan of Salvation):

    Page 47 (first line in a box entitled “Helping Others Learn About Jesus Christ”): “Missionaries are to testify of Jesus Christ and invite all to come unto Him that they might be saved.” Following this line is a discussion that this concept is central to all a missionary teaches, and lists 22 specific references in the Book of Mormon, plus “The Living Christ” as elements to be taught before and after baptism.

    Page 48 (in the section Pre-earth Life: God’s Purpose and Plan for Us): “Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan. Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ fulfilled His
    Father’s purpose and made it possible for each of us to enjoy immortality and eternal life.
    Satan, or the devil, is an enemy to God’s plan.”

    Page 49 (in the section The Creation): “Under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for us to live
    and gain experience.”

    Page 50: “If not for the Savior Jesus Christ, death would end all hope for a future existence with Heavenly Father.”

    Page 50 (in the section Our Life On Earth): “As with physical death, we cannot overcome the effects of sin by ourselves. We are helpless without the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

    Page 51-52 — an entire section on the Atonement (I will not quote it here). It is followed by 25 scripture references (most in the Book of Mormon refering to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, His resurrection and gospel.

    Page 52 (in the section entitled “The Spirit World”): “Even though Christ conquered physical death, all people must die, for death is part of the process by which we are transformed from mortality to mmortality.” (Followed by three scripture references which teach that the Savior began the teaching of the gospel to those in Spirit Prison.)

    Page 53 (in the section entitled The Resurrection, Judgement and Immortality): “Eternal life is a gift of God given only to those who obey His gospel. It is the highest state that we can achieve. It comes to those who
    are freed from sin and suffering through the Atonement of Christ. It is exaltation, which means living with God forever in eternal families. It is to know God and Jesus Christ and to experience the life they enjoy.”

    Page 53 (in the section entitled The Kingdoms of Glory): “Those who have repented of their sins and received the ordinances of the gospel and kept the associated covenants will be cleansed by the Atonement of Christ. They will receive exaltation in the highest kingdom, also known as the celestial kingdom.”

    From the same section: “People who do not accept the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ but live honorable
    lives will receive a place in the terrestrial kingdom. This kingdom is compared to the glory of the moon.”

    From Page 54 (a graphic depicting the Plan of Salvation), the caption: “The Atonement of Jesus Christ makes salvation possible.”

    I don’t know, Tex. Seems like the Savior is pretty central to the lesson on the Plan of Salvation. And it seems like Preach My Gospel is pretty clear on that subject. It was a long time ago that I was on my mission, and we used the rainbow disucssions in those days, but as I recall, we talked about the Savior pretty clearly in every lesson we taught.

  11. #4 Geoff B: I agree with you completely. And this post has made me reflect on how I’ve taught the Plan of Salvation in the past, particularly in the Gospel Essentials class, where the elements are spread over quite a number of weeks. It is important for us to understand who our audience is and what they bring to the discussion. And, of course, what we read in 2 Nephi 25:26 applies to us as we teach today: “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.”

  12. Jeff T.- Thank you so much for validating me.

    Paul- I know what PMG says, however from my experience it doesn’t work. There is to much stuff for people to take in all at once so missionaries have a tendency to breeze over Christ because “it goes without saying”. Even when I made absolutely sure I did talk about Christ I still got the old “are you Christians” at the end, because there is so much other stuff they are focusing on they don’t ketch the whole Jesus thing. There is no lesson meant to specifically teach how we are saved. There is a lesson that says to be saved we need to be baptized, there is a lesson that says these are the places we go to be saved, there is a lesson that explains that the BOM teaches us how to be saved, however there is no lesson teaching that Jesus saves. It is part of every lesson, however if it is not the central theme people just don’t get it. All of these other things are important, however when someone goes to church or listens to missionaries there should be no doubt that we love Christ.

  13. Tex, I was only responding to your suggestion that the discussions do not include Christ.

    That the lessons you have observed have not worked is troublesome, but it’s not clear this is a universal problem. It would be interesting to see research on the matter. Certainly the variability in individual missionaries is a big issue.

    I wonder if it’s possible (and I don’t know) if the question comes among your audience because of their specific predispostion about what it means to “believe” in Christ, and because the concepts taught in the Plan of Salvation are somewhat inconsistent with that “Christian” view. I know among my evangelical friends, that it a continuing sticking point.

    Certainly PMG allows for unique treatment of the Savior — especially the box I quoted on Page 47.

  14. The mid-1980s missionary discussions began with “The Plan of Our Heavenly Father.” We taught that we have a Heavenly Father, and that the two universal obstacles in life, sin and death, were overcome by his son Jesus Christ. Then we taught that we know these things through divinely appointed witnesses, and that Joseph Smith was a witness of Jesus Christ.

    Sometimes on the first visit, the person receiving us didn’t have time to get to the part about Joseph Smith, and occasionally, the response was something like “That’s nice. Nothing new from my own religion, but nice. No, I don’t think we need to meet again.” I think I even heard that a time or two after we did discuss Joseph Smith’s calling. Drawing and keeping attention on our whole message can be a tricky balance.

  15. John Masfield- I agree with you completely. If people don’t understand that we don’t derive our doctrines from the Bible but from revelation through the Priesthood all this other stuff is nice but they can believe it and still go to their church. I was a JS junkie on my mission. I read from JSH every day of my second year, and would often quote large passages from it in lessons. My issue is not with the first lesson, it is with the second. I do think JS should come up sooner in the First for the reasons you stated earlier.

    Paul- I’m really enjoying our conversation, thanks. Admittedly I have never lived, including my mission, outside of the “Bible Belt” but I don’t think most protestants have an issue with the Sunday School POS because they have never heard it before so they don’t know why it would be wrong. They will often dismiss it as unimportant because they have never heard it. They are totally wrong and that is just a cop out so they can change the subject, in my opinion. If we are not saying enough about Christ to convince God fearing Southerners that we are Christians than we are probably not saying enough about Christ to convince people from other places the importance of Him.

  16. This reminds me of an incident a couple of weeks ago in Sunday School. The class members had a discussion about the value of the cross. One member, an adult convert said, “The cross is just not that important anyway.” Shocking. We really are not doing enough to testify of Christ.

  17. #19 JA: Of course we don’t know the context of what your class member said. But if he followed his comment with the words, “The atoning sacrifice began in the garden and ended at the Savior’s death; the miracle of the atonement includes that great sacrifice during which he took upon him the pains of the world as described in Alma and elsewhere; and the miracle of the atonement was full at the garden tomb when the Savior was resurrected” then I might agree with him.

    The cross by itself is not the defining moment of the Savior’s sacrifice, nor does it encompass by itself the entirety of the atonement.

    By the tenor of your comment, however, I’m guessing your class member did not offer those qualifiers.

    Tex, I’ve also enjoyed the conversation, and as I told Geoff B, you’ve given me some things to think about the next time I teach this topic.

    Interesting to me that I did not see the same lack of understanding of Christ as central to our doctrine in Germany (on my mission) or in Venezuela or Taiwan (where I’ve lived and taught with the missionaries) or even in my present midwestern US city. Hence my wondering about the universality of the concern.

    Don’t get me wrong. We need to teach Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by him. I’m just not totally convinced that it’s not already happening, at least in some places.

  18. I think one factor in all of this is that while the “places” view (premortal life, spirit world, degrees of glory) of the POS can certainly be taught with Christ as a focus, He is inevitably an add-on to the diagram. In contrast, in the “conditions” view (creation, fall, rebirth/redemption) of the POS, Christ is inherently the focal point.

  19. Well done! Couldn’t agree more. When I was growing up it was more accurately called “the plan of progression”. It wasn’t until my mission that I heard it called “salvation”, and boy was I confused. I certainly was always taught that salvation was all about the atonement and repentance.

  20. Back in the old days, not quite as old as the felt charts, but the flip books, our first discussion was on the Restoration via Joseph Smith.

    While this quickly distinguished us from other churches, if it were the only discussion with the person, it could easily have left them with the feeling we do not worship Christ. I definitely like the PMG 1000% more. It is designed so the missionaries can teach the parts they are inspired to teach, and do not have to begin with lesson 1. Still, Lesson 1 is an awesome one to begin with, and so is the first in the series.

    It may have its imperfections, but it is far and above better than what we had in the 1970s.

  21. I don’t know a thing about the old discussions but I do like PMG quite a bit. I didn’t intend this to bash on PMG but to point out that Christ should be central to a lesson entitled Plan of Salvation, and not just a side note, regardless of witch church manual it is in. I think Jeff T. said it best in #21. I think the Places view is important but should be labeled something else like Darla’s “Plan of Progression”. The conditions view is the scriptural POS and less confusing to those who are new to the gospel.

    Paul- I’m really glad to know this isn’t a problem everywhere.

  22. Tex, I find myself wondering if missionaries teach differently in conservative “Christian” areas vs. Catholic or non-Christian areas. Just a thought.

    I would still think some rigorous study would be really useful. PMG has been around for quite some time now, and it would be good to see if and how the church measures its effectiveness in the field.

  23. Paul, you kind of have to teach differently in different places. Someplaces the people know all about Christ and the Atonement, other places they don’t even know others believe in a single God. That’s why I’m glad the emphasis was put on feeling the spirit for those you are teaching individually, because one size doesn’t fit all.

  24. No argument from me on that, Frank. Tex had raised a concern about how the lessons are taught in his neck of the woods and the relative focus (or lack thereof) on the Savior for those listening.

    I have sat through many lessons taught out of PMG, and I have to say that the quality of the lesson depends greatly on the missionary teaching it. (My favorite example is a very good one, I should point out: we had a new missionary who was very nervous and did not express himself particularly well. Each concept he taught came out muddled, but his companion very gently and clearly retaught each concept again when he finished, and the new missionary bore simple testimony. At the end of the lesson, the trainer sought my feedback about how the lesson went, and then his companion’s. It was quite a lesson on humility from both of those missionaries, and I’m confident that in time the new missionary has learned to teach quite well.)

  25. I’ve had discussions I felt were completely muddled that people say were crystal clear. I still give talks like that. I think the best lessons are those taught despite our failings.

    (back to the op)
    Maybe we should rename it “The Roadmap of Salvation”, then remind people that Jesus, by direction of the Father, is the reason we get to be on the map at all, and the only means we have of moving upward on that map.

  26. Paul- I didn’t say anything about the missionaries I think overall missionaries are exelent and when members tried to intervene they would mess it up with a few wonderful exceptions. In fact this follows the was stewardship in the priesthood works. The issue is with the lesson manuals as a whole, not just PMG. Calling something salvation and not talking about Christ is a serious problem.

  27. Tex, peace. You said nothing negative about the missionaries. I observed the effectiveness of their lessons depends on who is teaching and how they do it. I’ve observed that some are better than others. And those that aren’t “better” can and do improve over time, which is (I think) the way it’s supposed to be.

    As we discussed earlier, PMG does not do what describe (“calling something salvation and not talking about Christ”). Nor did the “rainbow” discussions of my day (late 70’s). So if that message is taught by the missionaries, it doesn’t seem to be because of the materials. Maybe it’s their training. Maybe it’s the way they teach their particular audience that the message does not get through.

    As for other manuals, I have not see the lesson you describe (the roadmap) in the seminary materials I taught from in the 1980’s, though I only taught two years (Church History and Book of Mormon), and it was some time ago, so I can’t speak for what they may say now. Nor did I see it in the four or five institute manuals I taught from in the last 10 years (Book of Mormon, New Testament, Church History, Teachings of the Prophets, Pearl of Great Price, and maybe one or two others). (Again, I haven’t taught every institute course, and I haven’t taught in the last four years, so maybe there are some I don’t know about.) Nor is that chart in the Gospel Principles manual. So I don’t know what manual does what you say it does.

    In fact, I learned the circle chart from fellow missionaries in my mission (my zone leaders, I think).

    That there are members who teach the way your fireside speaker did is clear. Else how could so many know the circle chart (and how could so many leave the Savior out of the discussion)? Clearly the scriptures do not do it as you and others have pointed out. The manuals listed above don’t do it. I’ve not heard the circle chart taught in General Conference.

    I guess I don’t know where these lessons are that you cite, that are called “The Plan Of Salvation.”

    It would be interesting to find the origin of the circle chart.

  28. I tried to find the origin of the circle chart Plan of Salvation. I did not come up with a definite answer, and a research project on it’s origins in order. It appears to me it came about during early correlation of the missionary program in the late late 1950’s early 1960’s.

  29. I don’t think you quite understand what I am trying to say if you don’t see the problem. I am a poor writer and don’t think I can put it any plainer than it is in my post. However I feel comments 7,10, 12, 21, 22, and 28 explain it better than I can. You are taking a particular example and turning it into the whole issue. All this has nothing to do with the missionaries, or PMG as a whole. The point is naming something the Plan of Salvation and teaching a lesson that is not about Salvation is confusing to everyone, both member and not. This is universal through out all Church Manuals. I only brought PMG up as an example because you felt Jesus “goes without saying”. If we fix it in all the lesson manuals it will just naturally be fixed at the mission level, because the membership of the Church will better understand.

  30. Tex, I’m being harder on you than I should, perhaps, and I’m sorry for that. I get the gist of your concern, and I agree — to a point.

    Your based claim, however, is that all the manuals of the chuch are saddled with the problem that Christ is not central to our teachings about the Plan of Salvation, yet you have failed to produce one scrap of evidence to support your claim. Instead you show anecdotes of PEOPLE’s teaching that supports your claim. The manuals themselves do not, as I demonstrated with PMG.

    In fact, I think if we were to examine general conference talks on the Plan of Salvation from the past 20 years or so, we’d find the Savior at the center of them, as well.

    You’ve created a straw man and attacked it.

    All of that said, I agree, as I’ve said repeatedly: As members of the church we could do better at preaching Christ. And I’m grateful for this discussion, because it’s allowed me to think about my own performance in this arena, and I’ll do better next time I teach it.

  31. Paul- I have enjoyed our conversation and feel that open discussion is healthy. Only a fool would be afraid of new ideas and differing opinions. Your last comment did show I was right. You don’t understand what I am trying to say. My issue is not that Christ is not in the POS lessons but that the POS lesson is not about the scriptural POS. If it was the entire thing would be about Christ redeeming us from the fall. All this other stuff is not part of what the scriptures refer to as the POS. However I have found people believe what they want to believe.

  32. I’m with Tex. The circles diagram is NOT the plan of salvation referenced dozens upon dozens of times in the scriptures. Every time you see the plan of salvation referenced in the scriptures, you’ll see the exact same pattern: creation, fall, redemption through Christ. That’s the scriptural plan of salvation.

    We’ve been blessed with an abundance of knowledge about the spirit world (and how individuals there are allowed access to the plan of salvation), the different heavenly kingdoms, and what happened prior to creation, but those details themselves are not the plan of salvation.

  33. Jeff and Tex, I don’t disagree that the “circle lesson” by itself is inadequate. All I’ve asked is that someone provide SOME documentation that it’s in a lesson manual (ANY manual). I can’t find it in PMG (which is very Atonement- and Christ-focused, as Tex and Jeff want it to be: Plan, Creation, Earth Life (including the Fall), Atonement, Resurrection), and I can’t find it in ANY of the present Sunday School manuals (I can’t even find a “POS” lesson in the present SS Manuals).

    I AGREE that we can do a better job teaching the POS / Atonement. And I think that better way is modeled in General conference talks by the brethren.

    But I don’t agree it’s the fault of the manuals as the OP posits.

  34. I personally like the PoS circle. Yes, it misses out on key things, like the atonement, and can/should be updated to use it. But it provides a lot of information in a very easy way to understand.

    As a missionary (rainbow lessons), we used it. Then we used the other lessons to discuss how the atonement, etc., fit into the plan of salvation. For me, the PoS focuses on the questions: where did we come from, why are we here, and where are we going to? It is not designed to explain every little detail. That is why there is more than one lesson.

    Perfect? No. But to be able to explain so easily huge chunks of man’s purpose on earth is a great thing.

  35. Rameumpton- Tex is not arguing there is anything wrong with the information provided for in PoS map, just the title. You are right it needs a major overhaul. PoS is valuable information, but it does not “save”. It is a positive scandal, that doctrine entitled Plan of Salvation does not mention Christ and his Atonement. We have a chart printed by Deseret Book see:
    that does not include Christ. The correct title would be “Journey of the Soul”. Perhaps after living in the Southeastern US for so long, and attending other church/synagogue services, and seeing first hand that other faiths put Christ/G-d as the whole enchilada of their worship services. I can see why other conservative Christians do not regard us as Christians when we have a doctrine called “Plan of Salvation” that does not have Christ as the center of the plan, but maybe as a “mention”. We must do a much better job of preaching and teaching of Christ, and perhaps using the terminology of other Christians in the teaching process.

  36. JA Benson — you are right. That DB chart is awful. Ick.

    At least the PMG “chart” includes the CLEAR statement that it is all made possible through the Atonement of Christ. And the accompanying lesson is undeniably Christ centered.

    I can’t locate a copy of the POS brochure Jeff T online, so I’ll have to wait and see a hard copy when I next see the missionaries.

    But I’m with Rameumpton: the “place” elements of the plan are also elements of our Father’s plan for us to to return to Him, and help to illustrate how that can happen. That they could somehow happen only based on the roadmap, however, is of course wrong. That they could happen without the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is equally wrong.

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