We lived with Heavenly Father in our pre-earth life. He helped us prepared for our life on earth and taught of His plan for our happiness. His plan goes by several different names: “the plan of salvation” (Alma 24:14; Moses 6:62), “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8), “the plan of redemption” (Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:30), and “the plan of mercy” (Alma 42:15).
The plan of salvation includes the Creation of the earth and its heavens, the Fall of Adam and Eve, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It also includes all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel. An important part of the plan is moral agency or the ability to make choices and to act for ourselves. Heavenly Father put this plan in place to help us perfect ourselves through the Atonement of Christ and then to live in a fullness of joy forever in the presence of God. Through the plan of our Father, we can live as families throughout eternity.
Each of us has a part in the plan of our Father, which is divided into three parts: our pre-earth life, our mortal life, and our life after death. We can find many answers to our questions by increasing our understanding of the plan. The plan answers these questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where will I go after death?
With a testimony of the plan of salvation, we can receive hope and purpose for our challenges in this life. We are children of God, and we lived with him before we came to earth. Understanding the purposes for this life can bring meaning into our lives.
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained, “there was only one way of redemption, one way in which reparation could be made and the body restored again to the spirit; that was by an infinite atonement, and it had to be made by an infinite being, someone not subject to death and yet someone who had the power to die and who also had power over death. And so, our Father in heaven sent us his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world with life in himself. And because he [Jesus Christ] had a mother who had blood in her veins, he had the power to die. He could yield up his body to death and then take it again. Let me read his own words: `Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18.)
“It was never the intention of our Father in heaven to leave men to grope and feel their way in darkness and that without any light to guide them, and expect them under such conditions to find their way back into his kingdom and into his holy presence. That is not the way of the Lord. Al down the ages from the beginning our Father in heaven has shown his kindness for his children and has been willing to give them direction. From the earliest times the heavens have been opened, the Lord has sent messengers from his presence to divinely appointed servants, men holding the authority of the priesthood who have been commissioned to teach the principles of the Gospel, to warn the people and tech them righteousness; and these men have received this knowledge, this inspiration and guidance from these messengers form the presence of God. This is true of our own dispensation. There is no need for men to shut their eyes and feel that there is no light only as they may depend upon their reason, for the Lord has always been willing to lead and direct and show the way. He has sent, as I say, messengers from his presence. He has sent revelation. He has commanded that his word be written, that it be published, so that all the people might know it.” (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Joseph Fielding Smith, pp. 44-45.)