The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

August 3, 2015

Italy, Rescue

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Since I have had the privilege to spend this Sunday in Florence, Italy, after attending a spirit-filled Sacrament Meeting here, I thought the following might be appropriate.

Alberto Sottili is a silver craftsman. He recognizes and treasures beautiful things. Each day in his shop in Florence, Italy, he creates jewelry—lovely necklaces, earrings, and brooches. But he is modest about his skills. “My shop is very simple—it is really just a laboratory,” he says. “I always wanted to be a musician, but I didn’t have enough money. So, when I was 14, I worked in the summer and began learning to make jewelry.”

Three years later—at a time when his life seemed very unsettled and he was searching for direction—Alberto heard about something that brought peace and beauty to him. “God loves you,” a relative who was a member of the Church assured him. Alberto was so impressed by this simple statement that he consented to kneel and pray with him. “I felt an incredible peace inside after our prayer, and I felt that I should learn more about this church.”

When the elders began teaching the gospel to Alberto in 1974, they spoke to him about Joseph Smith, the Word of Wisdom, and the purpose of life. “As I listened, I was touched by the fact that the ideas the missionaries were explaining to me were already familiar,” recalls Alberto. One month later, Alberto was baptized.

Today—20 years later—Alberto’s life is still surrounded by beauty. For many years, he was a single parent to his two older daughters, Simona and Silvia. When they were 12 and 11 years old, he met his present wife, Maria Teresa. They were married in the Swiss Temple and now have two more lovely daughters, Sara, 6, and Denise Gloria, 1. The older girls—now 19 and 18—have strong testimonies of the gospel, and both desire to serve missions. Simona reflected, “Thanks to the gospel, I am the person that I am. The gospel influences me each day of my life. Even though sometimes it is hard, I feel that the gospel brings me strength and freedom.”

Silvia is following in her father’s artistic footsteps as she studies painting and sculpture. She also follows his spiritual footsteps as she expresses her testimony, “I am so thankful for my father—it is because of him that I was able to join the Church. Often, people in the world feel that they have the freedom to do whatever they want to do. But I think that obedience to the laws of the gospel is the only thing that makes us really free from the weight of the bad things of the world. To me, the gospel is strength and help, and everything in my life. The most important thing I know is that God loves me and listens to me.”

In Florence, Italy, a city renowned for beautiful treasures, Alberto Sottili talks about his own priceless treasures: “I think that everything good is from God. To keep our family together, we have to work, to pray, to have home evening. We must not permit evil to come into our house.”

And Maria Teresa agrees, “I can’t imagine my life without the gospel. The gospel is my life!”

DeAnne Walker

A Foundation in Faith,” Tambuli, Nov 1994, 41

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August 3, 2015

Scott

Comments Off on It will resolve all inequities

The Atonement will not only help us overcome our transgressions and mistakes, but in His time, it will resolve all inequities of life.

Elder Richard G. Scott

August 2, 2015

Children, Video

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August 1, 2015

Children, General Authorities, General Conference, Healing, Miracles, Richards

Comments Off on All the children here in intensive care have angels helping them

Sherrie was able to move some of her fingers and toes after being released from intensive care. Dr. Walker was encouraged, but he told Sherrie’s parents that surgeons certainly could not take all the credit if Sherrie recovered.

“There is a power in surgery that is not mine,” says Dr. Walker, a member of the Cottonwood Fifth Ward in Salt Lake City. “I really felt that was manifest in Sherrie’s case. She came in here almost totally paralyzed, but things went so smoothly. A lot of good things happen to kids here that we can’t take credit for. Maybe because we help children, the Lord looks over us.”

When Sherrie came out of anesthesia, Dr. Walker asked her, “Sherrie, do you still love me?” She forced a smile through the pain.

Following the surgery, Clayne and Debbie spent the day praying fervently and taking turns keeping vigil at Sherrie’s bedside. As he watched his red-haired daughter sleep in a curtained cubicle that night, Clayne worried that she might die, as Dr. Walker had warned. But Sherrie awoke the next morning and immediately began speaking. A feeling of reverence engulfed the cubicle. For a moment, Clayne was puzzled by Sherrie’s words.

“Daddy, Aunt Cheryl is here,” she told her father. “And another lady I don’t know is with her.” Clayne and an attending nurse, the only ones at Sherrie’s bedside, glanced at each other. Sherrie continued.

“Grandpa Norman [Sherrie’s deceased great-grandfather] and Grandma Brown [Sherrie’s deceased great-great-grandmother] are here. And Daddy, who is that standing beside you?”

“I don’t know, honey,” Clayne replied. “Who does he look like?”

“He looks like you, only taller.” Sherrie paused, then continued. “He says he’s your brother, Jimmy.”

Clayne was three when Jimmy, ten years his senior, died of cystic fibrosis. “I doubt that during Sherrie’s life Jimmy’s name had ever been mentioned,” Clayne says. “She had never even seen a picture of him.”

Clayne, feeling that Sherrie’s death was imminent, hurried from the intensive care unit to awaken Debbie, who was sleeping in the hospital’s parent room. “There are visitors,” he told his wife. “I can’t see them, and I doubt that you can see them. But I can feel them.”

For nearly an hour, Sherrie looked about the cubicle and described her visitors, all deceased family members. Exhausted, she then fell asleep.

“Daddy, all of the children here in the intensive care unit have angels helping them,” Sherrie later told her father. Other visits and sacred experiences, before and after subsequent surgeries and during painful tests and procedures, followed.

“People from the other side helped,” Sherrie recalls tearfully. “When I was really in pain, they would come and help me calm down. They told me that I would be okay and that I would make it through.”

Michael R. Morris
Sherrie’s Shield of Faith, Ensign, June, 1995
Quoted by Elder Kent F. Richards, The Atonement Covers All Pain, General Conference, April, 2011

July 31, 2015

Christofferson, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, Justification, Sanctification

Comments Off on One Who is Justified is Pardoned, Without Sin, or Guiltless

Because of “the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice,” Jesus Christ can satisfy or “answer the ends of the law” on our behalf. Pardon comes by the grace of Him who has satisfied the demands of justice by His own suffering, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).  He removes our condemnation without removing the law. We are pardoned and placed in a condition of righteousness with Him. We become, like Him, without sin. We are sustained and protected by the law, by justice. We are, in a word, justified.

Thus, we may appropriately speak of one who is justified as pardoned, without sin, or guiltless. For example, “Whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world” (3 Nephi 27:16).”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, June 2001, 1

 

July 30, 2015

Christmas, Kapp

Comments Off on I Want to Get this Water on the Inside

The following is an excerpt from a story by Ardeth G. Kapp, former General Relief Society President, entitled “The Gift.”  Sister Kapp tells of a Christmas season visit to the home of an eighty-six-year-old friend who had been injured and the opportunity to meet his grandson, Brent, who was eight.

While we exchanged greetings and hugs, Brent stood anxiously waiting for the first opportunity to ask a question. In a most forthright and direct way he simply asked, “Have you ever shaken hands with the prophet?” The eagerness with which he asked gave me reason to believe that he may have rehearsed that question in his mind several times in anticipation of my visit.

“Yes, Brent,” I said. “I have shaken the hand of the prophet.”

“Oh,” he said. His eyes were wide, and his voice reminded me of what a great privilege that is. “If I could just shake the hand of the prophet,” he went on. His tone suggested that should that be a possibility, it would surely be the greatest Christmas gift he could have; and if not the greatest, at least it would be among the very top.

Sensing the love and respect Brent obviously felt for our prophet, and wanting to somehow provide a tie between the prophet and the young boy, I reached out my hand. “Brent,” I said, “this hand has shaken the hand of the prophet.”

He grabbed my hand and shook it vigorously. Then, letting go, he turned his hand over from front to back to examine it thoroughly. “I’ll never wash my hand,” he said. Considering the problems this decision might cause, I suggested that he probably should wash his hand and just keep the memory in his mind. This suggestion was not acceptable. He had a better idea. “Okay,” he said, “I’ll wash my hand, but I’ll save the water.” That seemed like a good suggestion, although I supposed he was only joking. Shortly Brent left the room. The warmth from the fire and the lights from the tree created a wonderful setting to visit. Together with Brent’s adopted grandfather and his grandmother, we shared memories of Christmases past.

A few minutes later Brent returned, this time carrying a plastic bag dripping with water. Before anyone could question him, he proudly announced, “I washed my hand,” holding up the bagful of water for all to see. We talked about the water in the bag and how that was a distant connection to the prophet; then our visit about Christmases past continued. Brent sat on the floor facing the Christmas tree, his knees peeking through his faded bluejeans, and from the corner of my eye I watched him examine the bag of water as if he were expecting to see some evidence that this was holy water. The fire burned low and the lights on the tree seemed to brighten.

After a few minutes Brent got up and, taking his treasure with him, left the room. While I wondered if we would see him again before we left, he returned-this time without the plastic bag full of water. He had determined a better solution for his desire to be in touch with the prophet. Standing in the door way with his T-shirt wet all the way down the front, he explained what he had done. “I drank the water,” he said.

. . . .

The sacramental prayer had been offered, and the sacred emblems were being passed quietly and reverently. The Sunday before Christmas brings a sensitivity that makes important things even more important-a time of recommitment and rededication, of sorrow for wrong-doings and resolve and hope to do better in the new year. As the sister on my right passed the sacrament tray and held it while I raised the small cup of water to my lips, into my mind came this thought: “I want to get this water on the inside.” I thought of Brent, a newly baptized member. I remembered the baptismal covenant. I thought of the symbolism of the water, the washing away of our sins. The cup of water of which I would partake renewed the promises and blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ. It was his birthday we were celebrating. I could hear in my mind again the sacramental prayer on the water: “that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

It was Christmas, a holy celebration in memory of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. The symbolism of the water was to represent his blood, which was shed for each of us so that we might live and have eternal life. The words of a little verse I had heard many years earlier came to my mind with new meaning: “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,/ If he is not born in thee thy soul is still forlorn.”

“Thank you, Brent,” I said to myself, “for this wonderful gift you have given me, the increased desire to drink the water-the symbolism of his atonement-to get it on the inside so that I might become more like him.”

July 29, 2015

Charity, Condie, Forgiveness, General Authorities, Reconciliation, Repentance

Comments Off on A compassionate, forgiving, loving disposition that could do nothing else but love and forgive

Then there is the father [of the prodigal son]. Some may criticize him for having been overly indulgent in granting the younger son’s request to “give me the portion of goods that falleth to me” (Luke 15:12). The father in the parable was undoubtedly sensitive to the divine principle of moral agency and freedom of choice, a principle over which the premortal War in Heaven had been waged. He was not inclined to compel his son to be obedient.

But this loving father never gave up on his wayward son, and his unrelenting vigilance is confirmed in the poignant narration that when the son “was yet a great way off, his father … had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Not only was there an open display of physical affection toward his son, but the father requested his servants to give him a robe, shoes for his feet, and a ring for his hand and instructed them to kill the fatted calf, joyfully declaring, “He was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:24).

Throughout the years, this father had developed such a compassionate, forgiving, loving disposition that he could do nothing else but love and forgive. This parable is a universal favorite for all of us because it holds out the hope to each one of us that a loving Father in Heaven stands in the roadway, as it were, anxiously awaiting the arrival of each of His prodigal children back home.

Elder Spencer J. Condie
A Disposition to Do Good Continually, a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 9 February 2010

Another foundation stone today:

The redeeming presence of our loving Father-God in the universe is the grand fact pertaining to the human condition. It is the supernal truth which, along with His plan of happiness, reigns preeminent and imperial over all other realities. Other truths, by comparison, are merely fleeting factoids about which we may be “ever learning” without coming to a knowledge of the grand truths (2 Timothy 3:7).

Mortal experience points evermore to the Atonement of Jesus Christ as the central act of all human history. The more I learn and experience, the more unselfish, stunning, and encompassing His Atonement becomes!

When we take Jesus’ yoke upon us, this admits us eventually to what Paul called the “fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). Whether illness or aloneness, injustice or rejection, etc., our comparatively small-scale sufferings, if we are meek, will sink into the very marrow of the soul. We then better appreciate not only Jesus’ sufferings for us, but also His matchless character, moving us to greater adoration and even emulation.

Alma revealed that Jesus knows how to succor us in the midst of our griefs and sicknesses precisely because Jesus has already borne our griefs and sicknesses (see Alma 7:11–12). He knows them firsthand; thus His empathy is earned. Of course, we do not comprehend it fully any more than we understand how He bore all mortal sins, but His Atonement remains the rescuing and reassuring reality.

No wonder, of all the things for which we might praise Jesus when He comes again in majesty and power, we will praise Him for His “loving kindness” and His “goodness”; moreover, we will go on praising Him for ever and ever! (D&C 133:52; see also Mosiah 4:6, 11; Alma 7:23). We will never need to be coaxed.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
“‘From Whom All Blessings Flow,’” Ensign, May 1997, 11)

July 27, 2015

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Hinckley

Comments Off on Hinckley – The Substance of Our Theology

“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (A of F 1:1). This is our primary declaration of faith. We speak unabashedly of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ. We declare without equivocation the fact of His great act of Atonement for all mankind. That act brought assurance of universal resurrection and opened the way to exaltation in our Father’s kingdom.

This is the burden of our declaration to the world. It is the substance of our theology. It is the wellspring of our faith. Let no one ever say that we are not Christians.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Our Testimony to the World,” Ensign, May 1997, 83

July 27, 2015

Uncategorized

Comments Off on A Saint

I’m no saint—that is, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.

Nelson Mandela