I learned long ago that I prefer to work, play and live by planning things out, studying ideas in my mind, and then embarking on a journey to achieve whatever it is that I set out to accomplish. Even at a young age, when friends came to pick me up on a Friday night, they’d say, “Let’s go” and I would say, “Where, what’s the plan?”; I typically wouldn’t leave my house until we had a plan.  

After dating my future wife for a couple of years it was time to sit down and make a plan for marriage, considering where we would seek employment and raise our family. I’m amazed when I learn of people’s journey through life without any real plan or forethought on what to do today to make tomorrow better.  

A good plan includes achievable goals, rewarding experiences and hopefully it includes family and friends. A good plan will also give you a view of the end from the beginning or at least a roadmap with defined directions along the way. 

One of the greatest plans that I have been privileged to be part of is “The Plan of Salvation,” also known as “The Plan of Happiness” to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

This plan was conceived by our loving Heavenly Father and presented to all of us in a great family council in our premortal existence. The plan includes our possession of a mortal body, agency, intelligence, faith in God and repentance. 

The core of this plan is structured around agency, our ability to choose for ourselves and learn from our good choices and bad. The good things in life that bring us happiness as well as the bad things in life, like illness, disease, pain, sorrow and even death are part of The Plan of Salvation.  

It is through the difficult trials in life that we learn to appreciate and seek the good things in life that lead to happiness. This plan includes the agreement that through the birthing process into mortality we would no longer remember heaven or Godly parents, leaving us to discover God and develop our faith in Him as our own choice. 

Jesus Christ was chosen to be our Savior and He came in the meridian of time and made an atonement for our sins making it possible for us to repent. Repentance cleanses us from our sins and allows us the opportunity to return and live with God. The atonement of Christ introduced the resurrection where all mankind will be restored to our bodies but in a perfect, immortal state.  

I was in my 20s before I began to realize the great blessings and happiness that I gain as I accept this plan as my personal roadmap, giving me hope in my choice to follow Christ and return to God’s presence. Whenever I am faced with the difficult things in life I simply remind myself that life is supposed to be this way; it is part of the plan, and it is how I learn the things that God wants me to learn in preparation for my eternal happiness.  

This may seem like a fairytale to some but for me it is all so real and enlightening. 

What I have shared is a very basic outline of The Plan of Salvation, feel free to learn more by googling “The Plan of Salvation” online. 

Loren B. Dickson is the Morgan Hill Stake President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and a member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance of South County. He can be reached at [email protected].

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