“The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of far greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches. In such a home God can work miracles, and will work miracles. Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of Heaven.”
David O. McKay Church News, Sept.7, 1968
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Family Activity: The Plan of Salvation

Activities are a way to create fun for families and to help get gospel principles inside our family members - to internalize them.  For ideas using activities to "finalize" a month of gospel study, go here.  For information and ideas for "wholesome family recreation, go here.

Note:  This activity is a fitting and fun culmination of a month's focus on the plan of salvation (The Lord's plan of happiness).  It is also a great activity anytime.  For more information on topical gospel study for families, and pictures of the "Nephi Experience," click here.

This activity works well with two or more families doing it together, but can be done with a single family or group also.
 The following pictures are of five families doing it together.  Thanks you to the Buckley family for planning it for us the first time we did it.
One family can take charge of the arrangements and instructions. Plan the date of the activity and make reservations at a "pizza Place" (restaurant) or a place where there can be food, and where there are (or can be) fun things to do.  A church will work for large or small groups.  If you hold this activity in a church, "carnival-type games can be set up.  Some places will be willing to help you celebrate the "birthday" of your entire group if you explain the idea and how you are acting our the "Plan of Salvation." Make arrangements with a local funeral home director to bring a group to his place of business to be instructed.  This part of the activity will also work at a church if you ask someone to "play" that part.  Collect house keys to be given out to each group.  Arrange for a temple or church meeting house for the first stop in the activity. Draw or map quest maps as needed.  Instruct everyone to wear seat belts and for the drivers to obey traffic laws.  Decide how many groups you will need and ask someone to be the leader of each group (each car).  Give each leader the following instructions:

STEP 1:  

Divide into groups and travel in cars to the first destination which is a temple, your church building (if the temple is too far away, or if you are doing this activity on a Monday and the temple grounds are closed, etc.), or a room in the church if you are doing the entire activity in the church. The group leader will explain what the pre-mortal existence was like (see Abraham 3:22-28 and Moses 4: 1-6)
The temple represents life as we knew it with our Heavenly Father before we came to earth. 
Use "The Family:  A Proclamation to the World." 

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. for full text click here 
Explain that we felt happy and secure there in the care of our Heavenly Father, and that one reason we shouted for joy when we heard Heavenly Father's plan was the fact that we knew our Savior would help us through mortality.  Witness to the truth of what Elder Holland stated:
"...remember the Savior’s premortal life and all that we know him to have done as the great Jehovah, creator of heaven and earth and all things that in them are. We could remember that even in the Grand Council of Heaven he loved us and was wonderfully strong, that we triumphed even there by the power of Christ and our faith in the blood of the Lamb (see Rev. 12:10–11). 
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Ensign Nov. 1995 "This Do in Remembrance of Me"

If the activity is being done in a church, a picture of a temple could be shown. While at this destination, have a few people assigned to hand out the keys you have collected. Give each group member three or four keys.  Explain that they are important, but don't explain why. 


Travel to the next destination which is the local "Pizza Place" or another room in the church if your are doing the activity there. On the way there, explain that the purpose of mortality is to  
obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.  Have each person imagine that he or she is now being born.  
Parents in the groups can explain how excited they were to welcome each of their children into their home. Explain why the "veil" was drawn and why we can't remember what the pre-mortal existence was like. 

Discuss Alma 43:32

If in the church, let everyone have a blast playing games and winning some kind of prizes. Eat food and treats. If at the restaurant, allow everyone to use a lot of tokens to play games, and eat lots of pizza.  If the establishment will let you bring in cake - enjoy that too! At least give out some extra treats and help everyone to enjoy the situation. Its great when the restaurant will "go along" with you and allow you to decorate tables with birthday balloons, place mats, and bring a cake.  This is easy to do if you are having the activity in a church.

Every so often, have certain pre-assigned leaders ask the children to trade the gold house keys they were given for tokens.  Make the odds good - one key for three tokens.  They will usually be trading them off like crazy!  The games are so fun to play!  Adapt if doing this activity in a church (perhaps using tickets). In the following picture, this little boy asks for the key back because he is "onto the fact" that the keys might be valuable.
When most of the pizza is gone, and the group members have had a ton of fun, most of the keys should be collected by the leaders. Do not force anyone to give keys in exchange for tokens.


Suddenly it is time to "die."  The "Grim Reaper" comes (figuratively - we don't want any kids getting scared!). Have everyone walk out the doors without any of the decorations, party hats, balloons, pizza, treats, or tokens, etc.  When we die, we do not take any things like that with us, right? 

Travel in the cars to the funeral home. Before entering the funeral home, explain death and its part in the plan.   Discuss Romans 5:12.

Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth, we dwelled as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. There we eagerly anticipated the possibility of coming to earth and obtaining a physical body. Knowingly we wanted the risks of mortality, which would allow the exercise of agency and accountability. “This life [was to become] a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” (Alma 12:24.) But we regarded the returning home as the best part of that long-awaited trip, just as we do now. Before embarking on any journey, we like to have some assurance of a round-trip ticket. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through—and not around—the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. (See 2 Cor. 6:9.) As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.  Elder Russell M. Nelson Ensign May 1992  "Doors of Death"                                                                                                                                         
If the funeral director wants to be involved, he can explain about what it is like when the spirit is no longer in the body. Don't get too graphic! One leader can now speak to all of the group members.  If you want to, take a few minutes to "process" what earth life was like and let the kids ask any questions. What did the treats, games, and prizes represent?  (worldly pleasure) What did the keys represent? (ordinances and covenants)


Discuss the Spirit World.  Helpful scriptures include:

Pearl of Great Price Chapters 10-16, 18, 20-22
Alma 40:12,13

Here in the "spirit world" the leaders can reward those who have kept their keys.  Have some extra nice treats or other rewards for those who have keys, and invite them up to the front to receive them.  Those who don't have keys will likely complain at the unfairness of this situation saying that they did not know the value of the keys - they weren't told.  This is a prime opportunity to explain that there are those who did not know of gospel truths, or have the opportunity to hear and understand gospel truths during earth life in a way they could accept and live them. In the spirit world these people will have an opportunity to hear, understand, and accept the gospel.

Doctrine and Covenants 138

A vision given to President Joseph F. Smith in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 3 October 1918. 
32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,  34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the  cross.

Invite (or this may happen naturally) the group members who kept keys to bring those without keys to the front to receive their rewards (symbolizing being taught the gospel, along with their repentance and acceptance of the gospel - made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ our Savior).

Alma 34: 
 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great bplan 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. 10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.
And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
 16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of cjustice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.


Explain the final judgement.
Revelations 20:12

We will all be resurrected. 
1 Cor. 15-22
D & C 93:33
Alma 40:23

All will receive their "just" reward (see slide below...haha).

Ideas for finalizing:

Share testimonies of the Plan of Salvation and gratitude for the Savior.
Watch a Mormon Message about the Savior.
Sing a hymn or primary song together such as "Families Can Be Together Forever."
Close with prayer.

To listen to a talk on "The Great Plan of Happiness" given by Scott Anderson click here.


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