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Lost Doctrines Concerning the Plan of Salvation
“The great plan of salvation is a theme which ought to occupy our strict attention, and be regarded as one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind.” ~TPJS, 68
“When truth shall touch the cords of your heart, they will vibrate; then intelligence shall illuminate your mind and shed its lustre in your soul, and you shall begin to understand the things you once knew, but which had gone from you. You shall then begin to understand and know the object of your creation.” ~John Taylor letter “the Mormon” 8/29/1857
Latter-day saints generally see the plan of salvation as fairly simple – we were born as spirits of our Father in Heaven; we came to this earth to obtain a mortal tabernacle; and after judgment, we will receive an immortal, resurrected body before entering into a kingdom of glory (sons of perdition excepted) – if all goes well, we will live with our families. With a few more details, the plan is complete. While early church periodicals like the Millennial Star offer refreshingly simple theological teachings similar to modern LDS theology, later discourses began to reveal a much more colorful and complex theology that modern saints commonly abandon as speculative or “un”doctrinal (if they know about them at all). While some of these theological teachings have gained significant attention (e.g., Adam-God teachings), others have been carefully cast aside into obscurity – if not into wholesale oblivion. For instance, some early prophets and apostles taught that people could progress between kingdoms of glory, that the saviors of some planets failed in their mission (leading to the destruction of their planets and presumably the people who dwelt on them), that spirits are made out of intelligences, that sons of perdition (and other people) will be dissoluted into native element and that some of those people (not the sons of perdition) will be reincarnated. These and other teachings covered in this upcoming book have become all but forgotten in Mormon theology.
I’ve been working on a book entitled Forgotten Mormon Teachings off and on for a half dozen years at least. When I wrote Understanding Adam-God Teachings in 2005, it seemed that my view of the plan of salvation was upended from what I’d been taught in the LDS Church. However, after writing that book, I felt like I had very few questions concerning the plan of salvation itself.