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

What we must remember about the Savior is that He and He alone had the power to lay down His life and take it up again. He had the ability to die from His mortal mother, Mary, and the ability to overcome death from His immortal Father. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, went willingly and deliberately to His death, having told His followers that this would happen. Why? one might ask. The answer: to give immortality to all mankind and the promise of eternal life to those who believed in Him (see John 3:15), to give His own life for a ransom for others (see Matt. 20:28), to overcome Satan’s power, and to make it possible for sins to be forgiven. Without Jesus’ Atonement, there would be an impassable barrier between God and mortal men and women. When we comprehend the Atonement, we remember Him with awe and gratitude.

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As we remember the Savior, we remember an empty tomb, a symbol that the Lord has risen and a promise to all of the Resurrection and life after death.

Because of our Savior’s Atonement, in death’s darkness there is no sting, in death’s depression there is no victory. His resurrected light dispels the darkness, defeating the prince of darkness, with a brightness of eternal hope.

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When the time for the Atonement was near, the disciples were concerned how long Jesus would remain with them. He told them that He would not tarry with them for long but that He would leave a Comforter with them, the Holy Ghost (see John 14:26). For you and me, we have to understand the loving nature of our Savior. We are not left alone. He has given us this day, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, a restoration of the gospel in these latter days. He has provided another testament of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon. He has restored the priesthood and the keys that He gave to Peter, James, and John when He was with them and they were His Apostles. They came to Joseph Smith and restored those same keys in 1829. Additional priesthood keys were brought by Elijah, Moses, and Elias after the appearance of the Savior in the Kirtland Temple on April 3rd of 1836. These keys have been given for the ordinances of the temple (see D&C 110).

We have not been left alone. We have the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us in an otherwise very dark and dreary world. The keys of the priesthood have been restored to make available all of the ordinances that are necessary, that we may return to His presence.

Elder Robert D. Hales

In Remembrance of Jesus,” Ensign, Nov 1997, 24

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[T]rue hope focuses us on the great realities-”things as they really are”-and frees us from unneeded anxiety, but not from the necessity of patient endurance. When we are down and discouraged, the hope of Christ can lift us up lest we remain vulnerable overlong. The brisk pace of Church service also helps us focus talent and time outwardly rather than being left alone for long with our moods. Duties knocking at one’s door are like friends come to call not always convenient but usually gladdening in their effect. Our hope rests upon a dependable expectation. Let others, if they choose, define theological hope as a mere wish or an awaiting. Hope includes, in fact, these more passive ingredients. But it is so much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spine. It is anticipation that turns into day-by-day determination. It is an eager and an enthusiastic expectation based upon a dependable and justifiable object of hope, the triumph of the resurrection-generating Lord Jesus Christ. It is this hope, and this hope alone, that permits us to “endure well” to the end-knowing that the end is but a glorious beginning! It is this same hope that is such a vital and helping virtue when we must “continue the journey” notwithstanding our weaknesses.

We are, therefore, grounded in the grand hope that the gospel provides. Our tactical hopes, however, are sometimes another matter. We may, for instance, hope to become a doctor or for a certain dating opportunity-outcomes that may not occur in spite of our best efforts. Our hopes of the latter kind, like our prayers, may or may not be granted. If they are not right for us, they may be withheld. If such hopes are subject to the agency of others, and so many are, they may not be realized. But our hopes for the things that really matter will not be blasted by men or circumstance.

If, however, we have this precise and basic hope, insofar as such strategic things as immortality and individuality are concerned, then the spirit of hopefulness will pervade our lives, giving to us a quality of life that is characterized by hopefulness. Real hope also gives us a tactical toughness that befits those who have ultimate hope. Job knew that “my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25.) Job’s hopes did not focus on next year’s crops!

If we have this kind of ultimate hope, there is no room for proximate despair. If the big things that really matter are finally going to work out in eternity, then the little things that go wrong mortally are not cause for desperation but perhaps only for a little frustration and irritation.

Ultimate hope and daily grumpiness are clearly not reconcilable.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Notwithstanding My Weakness
Deseret Book Company, 1981

To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home – which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife.

. . . .

Selflessness is a key to happiness and effectiveness; it is precious and must be preserved as a virtue which guarantees so many other virtues. There are so many things in the world which reinforce our natural selfishness, and neither our men nor women should be partakers thereof. We have grown strong as a people because our mothers and our women have been so selfless. That ennobling quality must not be lost, even though some of the people of the world may try to persuade otherwise.

. . . .

We should be as concerned with the woman’s capacity to communicate as we are to have her sew and preserve food. Good women are articulate as well as affectionate. One skill or one attribute need not be developed at the expense of another. Symmetry in our spiritual development is much to be desired.

. . . .

Agency suggests something very important—trust. Trust on the part of all. Now, just as God trusted us with all he had created here on earth, we must trust his knowledge and love and each other.

President Spencer W. Kimball
Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters“, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 102

“Sometimes, Lord, one is tempted to say that if you wanted us to behave like the lilies of the field you might have given us an organization more like theirs. But that, I suppose, is just your grand experiment. Or no: not an experiment, for you have no need to find things out. Rather, your great enterprise. To make an organism which is also a spirit, to make that terrible oxymoron, a ‘spiritual animal.’ To take a poor primate, a beast with nerve-endings all over it, a creature with a stomach that wants to be filled, a breeding animal that wants its mate, and say, ‘Now get on with it. Become a god.’”

C.S. Lewis
A Grief Observed, 57

This is a doctrine, likewise, which reminds us mortals that we do not have all of the data. There are many times when we must withhold judgment and trust God lest we misread, as did Jesus’ disciples when they inquired about the man blind from birth and Jesus gave the immortal reply: ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him’ (see John 9:1-3).

Trusting God’s plan even in the midst of ‘all these things’ is thus made easier, because he has so declared his purposes, plainly and simply, concerning the proving and tutoring dimensions of mortality.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
But for a Small Moment, p94
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Parables are a call to investigate the truth; to learn more; to inquire into the spiritual realities, which, through them, are but dimly viewed.

Parables start truth seekers out in the direction of further light and knowledge and understanding; they invite men to ponder such truths as they are able to bear in the hope of learning more.

Parables are a call to come unto Christ, to believe his doctrines, to live his laws, and to be saved in his kingdom. They teach arithmetic to those who have the capacity to learn calculus in due course. They are the mild milk of the word that prepares our spiritual digestive processes to feast upon the doctrinal meat of the kingdom.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Mortal Messiah, Vol.2, p.245
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Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Matthew 13:24:30

In one degree or another we all struggle with selfishness. Since it is so common, why worry about selfishness anyway? Because selfishness is really self-destruction in slow motion.

. . . .

In daily discipleship, the many ways to express selfishness are matched by many ways to avoid it. Meekness is the real cure, for it does not merely mask selfishness but dissolves it! Smaller steps could include asking ourselves inwardly before undertaking an important action, Whose needs am I really trying to meet?

. . . .

Selfishness is actually the detonator of all the cardinal sins. It is the hammer for the breaking of the Ten Commandments, whether by neglecting parents, the Sabbath, or by inducing false witness, murder, and envy. No wonder the selfish individual is often willing to break a covenant in order to fix an appetite. No wonder those who will later comprise the telestial kingdom, after they have paid a price, were once unrepentant adulterers, whoremongers, and those who both loved and made lies.

. . . .

No wonder we have been told, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and this includes self-worship! (Ex. 20:3; emphasis added). One way or another, the grossly selfish will finally be shattered, whimpering, against the jagged, concrete consequences of their selfishness.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
““Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8)”, Ensign, May 1999, 23

From C.S. Lewis for Christmas:

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God. (Mere Christianity, page 178)

What are we to make of Jesus Christ? . . . The real question is not what we are to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us? (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, page 156)

Life’s disappointments often represent the debris of our failed, proximate hopes. Instead, however, I speak of the crucial need for ultimate hope.

Ultimate hope is a different matter. It is tied to Jesus and the blessings of the great Atonement, blessings resulting in the universal Resurrection and the precious opportunity provided thereby for us to practice emancipating repentance, making possible what the scriptures call “a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Nephi 31:20).

Moroni confirmed: “What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moroni 7:40–41; see also Alma 27:28). Real hope, therefore, is not associated with things mercurial, but rather with things immortal and eternal!

Unsurprisingly, hope is intertwined with other gospel doctrines, especially faith and patience.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Ensign, Nov 1998, 61

We are almost daily put under obligations to one another, especially to friends and acquaintances, and the sense of obligation creates within us feelings of thankfulness and appreciation which we call gratitude.

The spirit of gratitude is always pleasant and satisfying because it carries with it a sense of helpfulness to others; it begets love and friendship, and engenders divine influence. Gratitude is said to be the memory of the heart.

President Joseph F. Smith
Gospel Doctrine, page 262
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