The Plan of Happiness in 45 Seconds

I’ve realized that most people have an attention span of about 45 seconds, not just two-year-olds. I would definitely fit into that category. So, I’ve decided to frequently do 45-second life lessons. Most of them will probably come from Family Home Evening lessons. Normally what I teach my son is what I am thinking about that week. (And let’s be honest, I get to kill two birds with one stone). It also helps motivate me to put more thought into my Family Home Evening lessons. It’s a win/win situation (or win/win/win? Anyone watch the Office?:)

This week I asked my son what he wanted to learn about at FHE. He said, “Jesus!” That makes my job easy, only every gospel topic is directly about or related to Jesus. But I actually love that he knows that Family Home Evening means learning about Jesus. So I narrowed it down from there and I taught him about what we call the Plan of Happiness (or the Plan of Salvation). Here it goes, get your stopwatch ready…

Before the earth was created we all lived with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as spirits. Heavenly Father wanted us to progress and be like him by receiving bodies. There was a problem though. If we received mortal bodies we would be subject to mortal weakness and inevitably make mistakes. We would not be able to return to live with Heavenly Father because we would be imperfect and Heavenly Father is a celestial being. Jesus Christ volunteered himself to live a perfect life and to be punished for our mistakes and sins so that we could be forgiven and become perfect beings so we could live with our Heavenly Father and families after our mortal lives were over.

So there’s the 45-second version. But, there’s a lot more to the story. If you are interested to know more you can post a comment and I would be happy to respond, you can go to our ask a question page or check out

9 thoughts on “The Plan of Happiness in 45 Seconds

  1. Teppo

    When I’m learning new scientific concepts, I try to condense them to a few sentences. This forces me to understand them more deeply and helps me remember them and build a big picture. I think your 45 s explanations can serve the same purpose for understanding the teachings of Jesus. I’ll try to do that myself!

    I was wondering, though, is the above green text what you told your son or is it a modified version?

    1. Lindsey

      It’s pretty much the same thing I said to my son. A few words I changed like ‘mortal lives’ and ‘celestial being’ I said in simpler terms. Other than that it’s the same. I do think that simplifying things helps me realize what the most important points are and it helps me see was the real purpose is.

  2. Bertrand Russell

    There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from his supposed superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates. You find him quite bland and urbane toward the people who would not listen to him; and it is, to my mind, far more worthy of a sage to take that line than to take the line of indignation. Today the “restored” Church tries to justify this away by saying God is everlasting, so therefore “everlasting punishment” just means God’s punishment. It takes some real intellectual gymnastics to be able to accept that kind of rationalization. Although I guess its not any harder to accept than the fact that the church has changed its stance on: the Adam-God theory, polygamy, birth control, oral sex, evolution, blacks having the priesthood, not to mention the radical changes in the Endowment ordinance.

    1. Tim

      These are some interesting points. But I think this criticism depends on your view of what punishment is. If we think of punishment in a literal biblical sense, involving fire, pain, etc. and as something God inflicts on us in some sort of retribution for not obeying Him, then, yes, that would be a character flaw. But that Hell has no place in Mormon doctrine. The Hell we believe in is more a state of mind. God sends us to Earth to give us an opportunity to learn and grow and become something better, something more like Him. If we do that, and if we continue to grow and become more like him after we die, then one day we can achieve perfection and be like God, in which case we can live with Him in “Heaven”. If we don’t reach that goal (which can only occur because of a lack of desire or misplaced priorities, rather than a lack of ability), then we cannot live with God in Heaven. It is physically impossible for one thing, and we wouldn’t want to, for another. We couldn’t tolerate it. Instead we stay at a lower level of glory, one which corresponds to what we become during this life and during a brief period after. And that level is not the Hell described in the scriptures. It’s a beautiful place. I think the lowest level is described as similar to Earth, so it can’t be too bad. The “Hell” part of it is 1) that we have to forever live with the fact that we screwed up 2) there is no infinite progression there and 3) we will not be with our loved ones. We cannot continue progressing forever unless we are with God in “Heaven”. Instead we will always be below those who achieved perfection, and we will always be left wanting.

      I think a great book about the type of Hell that I believe in and very similar to the one the Mormon Church teaches about is found in the book The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. I invite you to read it and then we can talk some more about this. If you want to talk more, ask us a question over at

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  4. Juliana

    Tim-wasn’t the link you wanted ? Also, even though Socrates is a great Greek philosopher, he doesn’t bring salvation. Jesus Christ was the only one who was capable of taking upon Himself all of our sins, mistakes and afflictions so that we could repent, be forgiven and clean in order to live with God. I found the Plan of Salvation, also called the Plan of Happiness, so true and it made sense in my mind the very first time I heard it. It’s true and I do believe it!

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  6. Erin

    I don’t understand, first you said before earth was created we lived with the Heavenly Father and Jesus as spirits, then you go on to say in the next sentence Heavenly Father wanted us to be like him a receive bodies. I thought we were all spirits? And I thought Heavenly Father was always a spirit and Jesus was a human form. Do you have a reference for where this came from? I just want to look for myself, maybe my understanding is mixed up.

    1. Lindsey

      I’m sorry it has taken so long for me to reply. I appreciate your question. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint we believe in the God Head, not the Trinity. The difference being that in the God Head we believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are separate beings (but one in purpose) and that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones as well as his literal son, Jesus Christ. So before we came to this earth, we were spirits, our spirits being created by God the Father and we came to Earth and received a body. We believe that after this life we will be resurrected and our bodies will become immortal and perfected just like the Bodies of God the Father and Jesus Christ. I hope this helps clear up the confusion. If you would like you can check out this link to learn more about The Plan of Happiness: or this one to learn more about the nature of God: Both links have scriptural links and references. Thanks for your questions!

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