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

September 2, 2014

Service

(No comments)

Tweet/Email/Share This Post

Adam became mortal; spiritual death came to him; and mortal death came to him. This was the first great crisis in the history of mankind. Indeed, it may be said to have produced mankind.

In order for him to get back to the place whence he began, it was necessary that there should be an atonement for this disobedience.

Quite obviously, Adam could not retrace his steps; he could not un-eat. He was mortal. No matter how good any of his children might be, they, also mortal, had no more power than had he. So, to pay for the disobedience, it took a Being conceived by the Infinite, not subject to death as were Adam’s posterity; someone to whom death was subject; someone born of woman but yet divine. He alone could make the sacrifice which would enable us to have our bodies and our spirits reunited in the due time of the Lord and then go back to the Father, thus reunited; and finally, body and spirit together, we might go on through all the eternities.

President J. Reuben Clark

Conference Report, October 23, 1955

August 31, 2014

Alma, Faith, Millett

(No comments)

Many years ago Elder John A. Widtsoe pointed out that each of us will have questions so long as we are thinking, reflective human beings. Questions are a part of life, a vital part of growing in truth and understanding. But doubt should be only a temporary condition, a state that is resolved either through the serious pursuit and investigation of the matter under consideration—resulting in acquisition of new knowledge by study or by faith—or in a settled determination to place the question “on the shelf” for the time being, at least until new insights or perspectives are forthcoming.

That forward pursuit in which we do not allow the unknown to distract or beset us, is called faith. Faith is in fact the antidote to doubt, the answer to skepticism, the solution to cynicism. It is, as Alma explained, “the hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). Out of such faith flows hope, an “anchor to the souls of men which [makes] them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).

Robert B. Millett
Making the Crucial Decision—Now, Mormon Scholars Testify
(Referencing Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960), 31-33, paragraph breaks added to enhance online readability)

The gospel’s rich and true doctrines combine to constitute a call to a new and more abundant life, but this is a lengthy process. It requires much time, experiencing the relevant learning experiences, the keeping of covenants, and the receiving of the essential ordinances—all in order to spur us along the discipleship path of personal progression. In the journey of discipleship, we lose our old selves. The natural man and the natural woman are “put off,” and then we find ourselves become more saintly (see Mosiah 3:19). One sees such saintliness all about him in the Church—quiet, good women and men, not particularly concerned with status, who are becoming saintly. This is what should be happening in the lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yet, walking and overcoming by faith are not easy. For one thing, the dimension of time constantly constrains our perspective. Likewise, the world steadily tempts us. No wonder we are given instructive words from Jesus about the narrowness and the straightness of the only path available to return home: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He also said in that same verse, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus has laid down strict conditions.

We live in a world in which, happily, many others regard themselves as Christians. Some live rich and marvelous lives. But there are some who style themselves as Christians who admire but do not worship Jesus. Some regard Him as a great teacher but not as the Great Redeemer. Yes, Jesus is the generous Lord of the expansive universe, but He is also Lord of the narrow path! Some people forget His latter Lordship.

The ravines on both sides of that narrow path are deep and dangerous. Moreover, until put off, the shifting, heavy, unsettling burden of the natural man tilts us and sways us. It is dangerous.

Nor does the natural man or the natural woman go away quietly or easily. Hence the most grinding form of calisthenics we will ever know involves the individual isometrics required to put off the natural man. Time and again, the new self is pitted against the stubborn old self. Sometimes, just when at last we think the job is done, the old self reminds us that he or she has not fully departed yet.

A vital, personal question for each of us, therefore, is, Are we steadily becoming what gospel doctrines are designed to help us become? Or are we merely rich inheritors of an immense treasure trove of truth but poor investors in the process of personal development so essential to discipleship?

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, Jun 1996, 12

The fact of all life is that it is eternal. That’s the great, salient truth. We have come into the world for a purpose, under a divine plan, and when we conclude this life we will go on to something that will be better, if we live worthy of it. And that great eternal course which we may follow is made possible through the sacrifice of the Son of God.

President Gordon B. Hinckley
Charlotte North Carolina Regional Conference, priesthood leadership session, February 24, 1996
Included in Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley
Deseret Book Company, 1997

Now, the atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths.

Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life.

But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement.

We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth.

We must search the scriptures, accepting them as the mind and will and voice of the Lord and the very power of God unto salvation.

As we read, ponder, and pray, there will come into our minds a view of the three gardens of God—the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Purifying Power of Gethsemane“, Ensign, May 1985, 9

Brothers and sisters, I believe that if we could truly understand the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we would realize how precious is one son or daughter of God. I believe our Heavenly Father’s everlasting purpose for His children is generally achieved by the small and simple things we do for one another. At the heart of the English word atonement is the word one. If all mankind understood this, there would never be anyone with whom we would not be concerned, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, or social or economic standing. We would strive to emulate the Savior and would never be unkind, indifferent, disrespectful, or insensitive to others.

If we truly understood the Atonement and the eternal value of each soul, we would seek out the wayward boy and girl and every other wayward child of God. We would help them to know of the love Christ has for them. We would do all that we can to help prepare them to receive the saving ordinances of the gospel.

. . . .

Brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father has reached out to us through the Atonement of our Savior. He invites all to “come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption” (Omni 1:26). He has taught us that it is through our faithful adherence to gospel principles, through receiving the saving ordinances that have been restored, through continual service, and by enduring to the end that we can return to His sacred presence. What possible thing in the whole world is remotely as important as to know this?

Sadly, in today’s world, a person’s importance is often judged by the size of the audience before which he or she performs. That is how media and sports programs are rated, how corporate prominence is sometimes determined, and often how governmental rank is obtained. That may be why roles such as father, mother, and missionary seldom receive standing ovations. Fathers, mothers, and missionaries “play” before very small audiences. Yet, in the eyes of the Lord, there may be only one size of audience that is of lasting importance—and that is just one, each one, you and me, and each one of the children of God. The irony of the Atonement is that it is infinite and eternal, yet it is applied individually, one person at a time.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” Ensign, May 2004, 84

The Holy Ghost is a sanctifier….

One who lives worthy of the guidance and cleansing influence of the Spirit will, in process of time, become sanctified.  Sanctification is the process whereby one comes to hate the worldliness he once loved and love the holiness and righteousness he once hated.  

To be sanctified is not only to be free from sin but also to be free from the effects of sin, free from sinfulness itself, the very desire to sin.  One who is sanctified comes to look upon sin with abhorrence (cf .Mosiah 5:2; Alma 13:12; Alma 19:33).

McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 263
(paragraph breaks inserted to enhance online readability)

He who bore the atoning yoke has asked us to “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” (Matt. 11:29). So the taking of Jesus’ yoke upon us constitutes serious discipleship. There is no greater calling, no greater challenge, and no greater source of joy—both proximate joy and ultimate joy—than that which is found in the process of discipleship. This process brings its own joys and reassurances. We must not, however, expect the world to understand or to value our discipleship; they will not. In a way, they may admire us from afar, but they will be puzzled about the priorities resulting from our devotion.

Shouldering the yoke of discipleship greatly enhances both our adoration and knowledge of Jesus, because then we experience, firsthand, through our parallel but smaller-scaled experiences, a small but instructive portion of what the Savior experienced. In this precious process, the more we do what Jesus did—allow our wills to be “swallowed up in the will of the Father”—the more we will learn of Jesus (Mosiah 15:7). This emulation directly enhances our adoration of Jesus.

Simultaneously, in this same process, the more we become like Jesus, the more we come to know Him. There may even be, more than we now know, some literalness in His assertion, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). We lack deep understanding of the implications of that remark of Jesus. As with so many things, He is telling us more than we are now prepared to receive.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, Jun 1996, 12

August 24, 2014

C.S. Lewis, Grace

(No comments)

God is not hurried along in the time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass.  You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created.  When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world.

C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity, page 168