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G38 Handbook of Genealogy and
By Elder Joseph Fielding Smith The greatest of all the gifts of God unto his children, is the gift of salvation.*
The greatest of all his works, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, which constitutes his glory.†
For this grand and glorious purpose worlds are created by him and peopled with his children. He gives to them his commandments, granting the power to choose for themselves whether or not they will obey. Those who obey him in all things he has promised great blessings, they shall be added upon in his celestial kingdom for ever and ever, and shall be crowned with the fulness of his glory. But to those who reject laws, and become a law unto themselves in unrighteousness, shall punishment be meted out according to their evil deeds.
The plan of salvation, or code of laws, which is known as the gospel of Jesus Christ, was adopted in the heavens, before the foundation of the world was laid. It was appointed there that Adam our father should come to this earth and stand at the head of the whole human family. It was a part of this great plan, that he should partake of the forbidden fruit and fall, thus bringing suffering and death into the world, even for the ultimate good of his children. By many he has been severely criticized because of his fall, but Latter-day Saints, through modern revelation, have learned that such was necessary in order that man should have his agency and, through the various vicissitudes he has to pass, receive a knowledge of both good and evil, without which it would be impossible for him to gain the exaltation prepared for him.
*Doc. and Cov. 6:13. † Book of Moses 1:39.
It was also necessary because of Adam's transgres.. sion for the Only Begotten Son of the Father to come to redeem the world from Adam's fall. This also was a part of the plan chosen before the earth was made, for Jesus is called the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. He came and redeemed us from the fall—even all the inhabitants of the earth. Not only did he redeem us from Adam's transgression, but he also redeemed us from our own sins, on condition that we obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel.*
“And now, behold," said the Prophet Lehi to his son Jacob, “if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen; but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were, after they were created; and they must have remained for ever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore, they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
"And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may
redeem the children of men from the fall. And because they are redeemed from the fall, they have become free for ever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves, and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose cap. tivity and death, according to the captivity and power of
*Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7:21; John 1:3-6.
the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”*
The primary and fundamental principles of this plan of salvation are:
First: Faith in God the Father, in his Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. We must accept them as the presiding authority in the heavens, who govern and control all things, who are omnipotent, just and true.
Second: We must accept the infinite atonement of Christ, believing that he is the Redeemer of the world, both from Adam's transgression and from our individual sins on condition of our repentance.
Third: We must repent of all our sins, giving our hearts to God, with the full intent of serving him.
Fourth: We must be baptized in water for the remission of our sins, by one who is called of God and clothed with divine authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel.
Fifth: We must have the hands of those holding authority placed upon our heads, and through their ministrations receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost,—the Spirit of Truth and Prophecy that guides us into all truth.
Sixth: We must be willing to serve the Lord with all our heart, mind and strength, keeping his commandment's even unto the end.
Upon these laws salvation is based, and the promised blessings are unto all men. These conditions are not severe, nor grievous, and are within the power of the weakest of the weak, if they will only place their trust in their Redeemer.
All who repent and obey these laws will be redeemed and saved from the sins of the world; but they who refuse and repent not will have to suffer for their own sins. The Lord says: “He created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness created he them, and gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship. But by the transgression of these holy laws, man
*2 Nephi 2:22-27,
became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man. Wherefore the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him. He suffered temptations, but gave no heed unto them; he was crucified, died and rose again the third day; and ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father, that as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved: not only those who believed after he came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came, who believed in the words of the holy prohpets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, who truly testified of him in all things, should have eternal life.'
Moreover, he further says: "And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I God am endless: * * Therefore I command you to repent-repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not! For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent, but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both in body and spirit: and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink-nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”*
These principles were taught to Adam after he was driven from the Garden of Eden, who repented and was baptized in water for the remission of his sins, and re. ceived the Holy Ghost. And Eve, when she heard the gospel plan, rejoiced, saying: “Were it not for our transgression. we never should have had seed, and nevei should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto
*Doc. and Cov. 20:18-26. † Doc, and Cov. 19:4, 15-19,