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

In ancient times when people wanted to worship the Lord and seek His blessings, they often brought a gift. For example, when they went to the temple, they brought a sacrifice to place on the altar. After His Atonement and Resurrection, the Savior said He would no longer accept burnt offerings of animals. The gift or sacrifice He will accept now is “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Ne. 9:20) As you seek the blessing of conversion, you can offer the Lord the gift of your broken, or repentant, heart and your contrite, or obedient, spirit. In reality, it is the gift of yourself—what you are and what you are becoming.

Is there something in you or in your life that is impure or unworthy? When you get rid of it, that is a gift to the Savior. Is there a good habit or quality that is lacking in your life? When you adopt it and make it part of your character, you are giving a gift to the Lord. Sometimes this is hard to do, but would your gifts of repentance and obedience be worthy gifts if they cost you nothing? Don’t be afraid of the effort required. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Jesus Christ will help you make of yourself a worthy gift. His grace will make you clean, even holy. Eventually, you will become like Him, “perfect in Christ.” (See Moro. 10:32–33)

With conversion, you will wear a protective armor, “the whole armour of God,” (See Eph. 6:13–17) and the words of Christ, which come by the Holy Spirit, “will tell you all things” you should do. (2 Ne. 32:3)

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, 11

(Some references omitted for readibility)

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July 4, 2015

General Authorities, General Conference, Repentance, Scott

Comments Off on Scott – Overcome Mistakes, Repent of Improper Choices

Yesterday, Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve, spoke on the topic, He Lives! All Glory to His Name!

“This Easter resolve to make the Lord Jesus Christ the living center of your home.”

. . . .

“Should you have been disobedient to his commandments and feel unworthy, recognize that this is why the Lord, Jesus Christ, laid down his life. Through his atonement he has opened forever the opportunity to overcome such mistakes, to repent of improper choices, and to conquer the negative effects of a life contrary to his teachings.”

Elder Richard G. Scott

“He Lives! All Glory to His Name!”, April, 2010 General Conference

July 3, 2015

Adversity, Enabling Power, Eyring, General Authorities, General Conference

Comments Off on We Must be Transformed

“It is clear that for us to have [God’s] gift [of eternal life] and to be given [the] trust [of our Heavenly Father], we must be transformed through making righteous choices where that is hard to do. We are prepared for so great a trust by passing through trying and testing experiences in mortality. That education can come only as we are subject to trials while serving God and others for Him.”

President Henry B. Eyring

Adversity,” Ensign, May 2009, 23–27, excerpted in LDS Daily Gems, 29 September 2009

July 2, 2015

Fundamental Principles, Nibley

Comments Off on The Atonement – One of the Grand Constants of Nature

In its sweep and scope, atonement takes on the aspect of one of the grand constants in nature-omnipresent, unalterable, such as gravity or the speed of light. Like them, it is always there, easily ignored, hard to explain, and hard to believe in without an explanation. Also, we are constantly exposed to its effects whether we are aware of them or not.

Hugh Nibley

“The Meaning of the Atonement,” CWHN 9:603 Approaching Zion

July 1, 2015

Fundamental Principles, Grace, Mercy

Comments Off on Merits and Mercy of Christ

Latter-day Saints stress that neither the unconditional nor the conditional blessings of the Atonement would be available to mankind except through the grace and goodness of Christ. Obviously the unconditional blessings of the Atonement are unearned, but the conditional ones are also not fully merited. By living faithfully and keeping the commandments of God, one can receive additional privileges; but they are still given freely, not fully earned. They are always and ever a product of God’s grace. Latter-day Saint scripture is emphatic in its declaration that “there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8)

From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism

June 30, 2015

General Authorities, General Conference, Holland

Comments Off on None Were with Him

Elder Holland does such an excellent job of expressing some of the complex emotions that surround our contemplation of our Savior and His great sacrifice for us.

Now I speak very carefully, even reverently, of what may have been the most difficult moment in all of this solitary journey to Atonement. I speak of those final moments for which Jesus must have been prepared intellectually and physically but which He may not have fully anticipated emotionally and spiritually—that concluding descent into the paralyzing despair of divine withdrawal when He cries in ultimate loneliness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”16

The loss of mortal support He had anticipated, but apparently He had not comprehended this. Had He not said to His disciples, “Behold, the hour … is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” and “The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him”?17

With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christ’s determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, finally and mercifully, it was “finished.”18 Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness, and despair. With faith in the God He knew was there, He could say in triumph, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”19

Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”20

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

None Were with Him,” Ensign, May 2009, 86–88

June 29, 2015

Covenants, Fall, Grace, Hafen, Justice, Lehi, Repentance

Comments Off on The Atonement is for All of Life, Each Day of Our Lives

The story of Adam and Eve teaches us that the Atonement is for all of life, each day of our lives. The Savior’s gracious power not only heals and comforts but is also a source of personal growth and development, leading to an understanding of life and a fullness of joy. The Atonement is thus developmental and practical, not static and abstract.

According to Lehi, “If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.” He and Eve “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.” (2 Nephi 2:22-23.) This passage seems to say what many parents have long suspected-if they had no children, they would have no misery. Yet without children and without misery, they would also have no joy. But, taught Lehi, the Fall-with its misery, its sorrow, and even its sin-was not a mistake or an accident. The Fall was consciously designed, misery and all, to bring us joy and freedom: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time . . . that they . . . become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves.” (2 Nephi 2:25-26.)

The Lord taught Adam this same understanding of life. He said Adam’s children would experience the bitterness of mortality, but “they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.” (Moses 6:55.) Indeed, “If they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet.” (D&C 29:39) And the role of the Atonement in that process is to compensate for-to heal us from-the effects of the bitter, after we do all we can do by ourselves: “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23.)

Thus does the grace of Christ, unlocked by his atoning sacrifice, heal us from the wounds of our sins and all our other infirmities. As we repent of our conscious sins, accept the gospel, and do all else we can do, we enter into a holy relationship with our Savior based on the two-way covenants made possible by his atonement. Through our covenant relationship with him, celebrated each week by the sacrament, he heals us in at least four distinct ways.

First, he satisfies the eternal law of justice, relieving us of the burden of paying for our sins, so long as we repent of them.

Second, his influence interacts with our righteous yearnings and our repentance to change our hearts until we desire goodness continually.

Third, he bridges any chasm that separates and estranges us from God. Many things can create this sense of alienation-unintentional mistakes or undeserved discouragement and confusion, as well as sin. Regardless of whether his sheep run away or lose their way or are stolen away, the Good Shepherd will search for them when they are lost, pick them up, and carry them home, making them “at one” with him and his Father. That is the work of the great “at-one-ment.”

And, fourth, once we have done all we can do to make restitution, the Savior will help to compensate for the harm we may have done or the harms done to us, repairing and restoring our spiritual and psychic losses, whether caused by sin or other factors.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen
“Eve Heard All These Things and Was Glad”: Grace and Learning By Experience
published in Women in the Covenant of Grace, Edited by Dawn Hall Anderson
and Susette Fletcher Green
Talks Selected from the 1993 Women’s Conference Sponsored by
Brigham Young University and the Relief Society
Deseret Book Company, 1994

June 28, 2015

Eternal Life, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, Hinckley, Sacrifice

Comments Off on The Fact of All Life is that It is Eternal

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

June 27, 2015

General Authorities, General Conference, Mickelsen, Repentance

Comments Off on Repentance – Do We Forget Who Has the Right to Judge?

How often do we forget who has the right to judge? Forgiveness of sin depends on Him, not on us. So the next time we are tempted to hang dirty linen in public, let us remember:

First, go to the Lord.

Second, go to the one we have offended.

Third, if necessary, go to our judge in Israel.

And fourth, then put it away.

Another side of exposing dirty linen is the carnal, insatiable appetite that some have to expose the faults of others. The Lord challenged Job as he was chafing under his burden: “Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” (Job 40:8) This can happen even in the family, when one, supposing he is protecting his own good name, exposes in elaborate detail the faults and mistakes of his siblings, his children, or his parents in a form of self-justification designed to alleviate his personal pain.

In the parable of the prodigal son, the prodigal was reclaimed by a faithful father who spoke of his son’s worth, not of his faults.

Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen
The Atonement, Repentance, and Dirty Linen,”
Ensign, Nov 2003, 10

June 26, 2015

Charity, Eyring, General Authorities

Comments Off on Charity is an Effect of Christ’s Atonement

“The great legacy those who went before you in the Relief Society [has been] passed on to you.

The part of the foundation they laid for you which seems to me most important and persistent is that charity is at the heart of the society and is to come into the heart, to be part of the very nature, of every member. Charity meant to them far more than a feeling of benevolence. Charity is born of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and is an effect of His Atonement working in the hearts of the members.”

President Henry B. Eyring
“The Enduring Legacy of Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 121