The Plan Of Happiness...
The Atonement of Christ is an integral part of the Plan of Salvation, otherwise known as the Plan of Happiness. Before proceeding, an elementary explanation of the Plan of Happiness is needed. Without the Plan of Happiness, no Atonement would be required. Conversely, without the Atonement of Christ, the Plan of Happiness wouldn't be possible.
The Plan of Happiness answers three of the most common questions asked by mankind; Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going after this life?
Where We Came From
We are spirit children of our Heavenly Father. He loves us. He wants the very best for us. His desires for us are no different than your best desires for your children, or your parents best desires for you. (Hopefully, that has been your experience. If not, this should surely help you.) Please, if you don't read another word, keep this in your heart; God is your Father and He loves you.
We lived with our Heavenly Father before we came to this world. We learned and grew and had many experiences there, just as we live and learn here.
Why We Are Here
As spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we came to a point in our eternal progression where there was nothing more we could do or learn without gaining a physical body and having mortal experiences not possible while in God's presence.
We weren't compelled to come here, though. We chose to come. With the same agency we had in our pre-earth life (God's most precious gift to us), we were prepared and sent here under a veil of forgetfulness, to learn and be tested.
The most pertinent test, as it relates to this discussion, is to prove whether or not we will be obedient to God, when we are not in His presence. It's easy for children to obey their parents while they are together, but will they do the same when Mom and Dad step out of the room. Will children obey when they are old enough to wander off on their own. Can we be trusted?
Some other critical purposes for our earthly sojourn include:
- - obtaining a physical body.
- - facing death, so we can better understand eternal life.
- - suffering pain and sorrow in order to learn what true joy and happiness is.
Where We Are Going
The result of our earthly test, particularly how we exercised our agency, directly influences and determines our final state.
Preliminary Judgement: Immediately after we pass from this life, there is a "Preliminary Judgement". One of two places await us, depending on what our opportunities were in this life and what we did with them.
PARADISE: If you've had the opportunity to hear and learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (in its fulness) and have had a personal witness of its truthfulness, count yourself blessed. Paradise will be a glorious rest from the trials of this life.
SPIRIT PRISON: For the billions of Heavenly Father's children who don't get that opportunity, they are held back in what's called the Spirit Prison. Unlike a prison one thinks of in earthly terms, Spirit Prison is a situation you come to where progress is no longer possible because you lack the knowledge and ordinances required to move forward. It's a place of learning and growth for those whose circumstances prevented them from receiving the truth on earth, where Satan no longer has the power to deceive. Spirit Prison is evidence of a loving God who wants all His children to have every chance to accept or reject the blessings He has to offer.
Final Judgement: The time will come when an accounting will be made regarding the choices you've made along the way. After that a "Final Judgement" will be made. People with varying desires and lifestyles will be blessed with everything the Lord can possibly give them, based on the way they lived their lives. No matter what kingdom you are blessed to live in, it will be greater than you can imagine.
In John 14:2 Christ said, "In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." The Apostle Paul said he knew a man who had been caught up to the third heaven, indicating there were more kingdoms in heaven than just the Heaven and Hell, most people think of. Modern revelation sheds light on where we can expect to end up in the hereafter.
CELESTIAL KINGDOM: This is the kingdom Heavenly Father lives in. This is the kingdom He wants you to live in. Here you will have the companionship and company of the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ, as well as our Father in Heaven. But, don't be deceived! Heavenly Father wants you to have everything He has and that can only be had if you live a life worthy of a Celestial Glory. Don't be afraid, either. As long as you are doing your utmost, Christ's Grace will make up for your shortcomings, after all you can do.
TERRESTRIAL KINGDOM: The Terrestrial realm is a kingdom of glory and will be a marvelous place for those who lived a good life, but made no special effort to follow or accept the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They did nothing terribly wrong but will have done nothing to merit a greater reward. Why? They allowed themselves to be deceived by the precepts of men. They became too comfortable living according to their own wisdom. There will be various degrees of sadness and anguish, because they will realize they could have done better, but never did.
People living here will still have the Holy Ghost as well as the Savior Jesus Christ to teach, lead and guide them throughout the eternities. But, where God our Heavenly Father lives, they will not be allowed.
TELESTIAL KINGDOM: Surprising as it may be, the Telestial realm is also a kingdom of glory. Regardless of how some souls lived their lives here on earth, they were still good enough in their pre-earth life to merit a great reward. This includes the liars and murderers of the world. Not only common people, esteemed as vial and wicked, but great leaders like King David will spend eternity here, because although they lived great, in their heart of hearts they sinned great, as well.
People living here will have the Holy Ghost to teach, lead and guide them throughout the eternities. But, where God and Christ reign, they will not be allowed.
PERDITION: Unlike any other state, Perdition is not a kingdom of glory. Perdition is the domain of those who deny the "Testimony of the Holy Ghost" after receiving it. They are consumed by a lust for God's glory, yet they are without charity. They are saturated with hate and envy. It will be a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; a dark and dreary world where no light, nor truth, nor intelligence can penetrate.