Visual Aid to The Gospel of Jesus Christ: Updated

March 9, 2014    By: Matt W. @ 9:01 am   Category: Life

Today I am teaching the Elders about Faith and Repentance, and made this visual aid. Have a look and tell me if there is anything you disagree with. My only thought is that I would love to replace “Sin” with “Acts of Independence” as Elder Hafen did. Maybe I will put “Sin or other acts of Independence”…

Gospel of Jesus Christ









update: I tried to incorporate some of the suggestions from the comments. Better? Too Busy?

Gospel of Jesus Christ 2


  1. I would first like to say that your visual aid is quite brilliant. Good job.

    Some questions/observations:

    The justification/sanctification distinction seems unique to me. It appears that the justification aspect applies to resurrection. Was this intended? If so, that seems a bit forced.

    I also am a bit of a degrees of glory fan. Perhaps that (along with premortal life) would be reserved for a plan of salvation visual aid? Is this another intended distinction you intended?

    Again, well done.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — March 9, 2014 @ 11:46 am

  2. I think that justification and sanctification as used in restoration scripture have clear historical meaning. I think that for the last 100 years they generally have been very squishy with no nebulous meanings. It is hard for me to see how your use of the terms in this illustration fits meanings that I am familiar with.

    Also, do you think that the temple liturgy should influence this at all?

    Comment by J. Stapley — March 9, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  3. Eric: Good points- I was trying to show the atonement as beginng and end of the process of our becoming like God, with justification being “I love you anyway” and sanctification being “I love you” if that makes sense. I did not intend to correlate justification with resurrection.

    I thought about extending this to show it as a part of the plan of salvation with degrees of Glory, but I thought I’d get a lot more debate on how to illustrate that, so decided to hold off.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 9, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

  4. J, I do think temple liturgy influences this, as I think our understanding of Adam and Eve and their relationship to is as prototypes is heavily influenced by the temple. However, I can only guess how you mean it.

    Part of the challenge of attempting to show a cyclical process as a linear path is that mean becomes obfuscated. What do you feel are the clear early definitions of sanctification and justification. I tend to find the definitions given by D. Todd Christofferson a while back to be normative and a satisfactory illustration of what I was trying to imply.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 9, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

  5. What do you feel are the clear early definitions of sanctification and justification

    I would also be interested in this.

    Comment by Bryan H. — March 9, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

  6. I know each step has the common designations, but it seems to me the steps – as a whole, as edges on a larger structure – are sanctification as a whole, rather than just the last step?

    What if the floor of death continues on all the way to the right (as if linear in time and space, denoting it is possible to continue in that state) and the steps and resurrection bridge are part of the larger structure elevating a route back to God’s presence or divine unity from deaths plain? Seems to me that that would encapsulate justification (ie the structure and stairs are offered as a sheer grace) and sanctification would be the ascension of the freely offered structure?

    Just thinking out loud.

    Comment by Riley — March 12, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

  7. The issue I have with the chart is that it appears to me to be showing that the purpose of life and the gospel of Jesus Christ is to get us back to ground zero, right where we were before the fall. Perhaps you meant to show progression with the chart process moving left to right, but in my mind left to right just looks like linear time and the up down looks like how you fall downward or progress upward.

    Also, I would say the justification process is what gets us back to ground zero, and would thus include more than overcoming death–it is also a remission of sins that is likewise free to all men if they will but repent and accept the forgiveness offered by Christ made possible through His atonement (whenever they of their own free will choose to accept this and continually repent, etc., this to me is the meaning of salvation for all [save the son’s of perdition])–so I would likewise include faith in Christ, repentance, baptism (and possible even halfway up the Gift of the Holy Ghost step–see Moses 6:60) as part of justification.

    The sanctification process to me is the enabling power of the atonement, that in the face of opposition we are further empowered to learn, grow, overcome and gain further intelligence to become more like God. So I would include the Gift of the Holy Ghost, maybe the endowment (if your interested in including any temple ordinances), and learning through overcoming opposition / enduring to the end.

    My preference would be that a chart like this would clearly show, that we are here to 1) Obtain a body, and 2) Learn or gain further light and knowledge becoming more like Christ, more spiritually intelligent, than we were before we came to earth (or before the fall into mortality). Otherwise when we return to God, if we are merely the same, why should we have left at all?

    But maybe these things are just getting a bit too complicated for a Sunday School chart like this, I don’t know? Just some thoughts that came to mind.

    Comment by SteveF — March 12, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

  8. If you missed it, I updated the graphic based on you suggestions.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 16, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  9. What would it look like if you were to add multiple mortal probations?

    Comment by Adam — March 26, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

  10. It would look the same.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 5, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

  11. My comments are similar to SteveF’s (even after the updated version): “The issue I have with the chart is that it appears to me to be showing that the purpose of life and the gospel of Jesus Christ is to get us back to ground zero, right where we were before the fall”

    It appears that you view Justification as overcoming death but not sin. But I would view it as returning us to a state of being “with” God but not “like” God (to borrow the terms on your chart). Faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost (specifically, the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost) would all fall under Justification.

    If you agree, then perhaps use differently-colored backgrounds to delineated the Justification versus Sanctification eras. (And maybe the border between them should be blurred, not rigid?)

    The only other criticism is that I don’t think there can be a continuous line from Justified to Exalted—somewhere in there, we must undergo a change in our very nature.

    Comment by BrianJ — April 14, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

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