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

Salvation and eternal life would not be possible if it were not for the Atonement, brought about by our Savior, to whom we owe everything. But in order for these supreme blessings to be effective in our lives, we should first do our part, ‘for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’

Let us with faith, enthusiasm, dedication, responsibility, and love do all that is within our reach, and we will be doing all that is possible to achieve the impossible—that is, to achieve what for the human mind is impossible but with the divine intervention of our loving Father and the infinite sacrifice brought about by our Savior becomes the greatest gift, the most glorious of realities, to live forever with God and with our families.

Elder Jorge F. Zeballos
Attempting the Impossible“, Ensign, Nov. 2009, 33–34
(paragraph break inserted to enhance online readability)

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April 24, 2017

Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, Kimball

Comments Off on On Through the Eternities to Exaltation

The Lord restored his kingdom in these days, with all its gifts and powers and blessings. Any church that you know of may possibly be able to take you for a long ride, and bring you some degree of peace and happiness and blessing, and they can carry you to the veil and there they drop you. The Church of Jesus Christ picks you up on this side of the veil and, if you live its commandments, carries you right through the veil as though it weren’t there and on through the eternities to exaltation.

President Spencer W. Kimball
The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 49–50, quoted in Chapter 1: “To Live with Him Someday”, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City, The Church of the Latter Day Saints, 2006

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April 23, 2017

Book of Mormon, Fundamental Principles, Grace, Sanctification

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And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Moroni 10:33

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April 22, 2017

Eyring, Forgiveness, General Authorities, General Conference, Prayer, Repentance

Comments Off on We are Spirit Children Temporarily Away from a Loving Heavenly Father

When we teach those we love that we are spirit children temporarily away from a loving Heavenly Father, we open the door of prayer to them.

We lived in His presence before we came here to be tested. We knew His face, and He knew ours. Just as my earthly father watched me go away from him, our Father in Heaven watched us go into mortality.

His Beloved Son, Jehovah, left those glorious courts to come down into the world to suffer what we would suffer and to pay the price of all the sins we would commit. He provided for us the only way to go home again to our Heavenly Father and to Him. If the Holy Ghost can tell us just that much about who we are, we and our children might feel what Enos felt. He prayed this way:

“And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

“And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed” (Enos 1:4-5).

I can promise you that no joy will exceed what you would feel if a child of yours prays in the hour of need and receives such an answer. You will someday be separated from them, with a longing in your heart to be reunited. A loving Heavenly Father knows that longing would last forever unless we are reunited as families with Him and His Beloved Son. He put in place all His children will need to have that blessing. To find it, they must ask of God for themselves, nothing doubting, as the boy Joseph Smith did.

Elder Henry B. Eyring

“‘Write upon My Heart’,” Ensign, Nov 2000, 85–87

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April 22, 2017

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, Grace, Hafen

Comments Off on The Restored Doctrine of the Atonement – Part 1

In 1993, Bruce C. Hafen, then Provost of BYU, now a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, wrote an article for the Ensign magazine in connection with the publication of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.  The article is entitled, The Restored Doctrine of the Atonement and is an excellent short discussion of some of the ways that LDS understanding of the Atonement and Grace return to original doctrines as taught by Christ and His prophets in ancient times.

From Elder Hafen:

In the teachings of Augustine and Luther, man’s fallen nature made self-generated righteous acts impossible. In LDS doctrine, by contrast, “men should … do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.” (D&C 58:27–28.)

Yet we clearly lack the capacity to develop a Christlike nature by our own effort alone. Thus, the perfecting attributes, which include hope, charity, and finally the divine nature that is inherently part of eternal life, are ultimately “bestowed upon all who are true followers of … Jesus Christ” (Moro. 7:48; emphasis added) by the grace that was made possible by the Savior’s atonement. In LDS theology, this interactive relationship between human will and divine powers derives from the significance the gospel attaches to free will and from optimism about the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22) among “those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do” (D&C 46:9; emphasis added).

God bestows these additional, perfecting expressions of grace conditionally, as he does the grace that allows forgiveness of sin. They are given “after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23)—that is, they are given as an essential supplement to our best efforts. We prove worthy and capable of receiving these gifts not only by obeying particular commandments but also by demonstrating certain personal attitudes and attributes, such as “meekness and lowliness of heart” (Moro. 8:26) and “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Ne. 9:20).

In addition, those who enter into the covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ may also be spiritually sustained by him. This is the relationship we celebrate and renew each time we partake of the sacrament. Through it, the Savior grants not only a continuing remission of our sins, but he will also help compensate for our inadequacies, heal the bruises caused by our unintentional errors, and strengthen us far beyond our natural capacity in times of acute need.

Both we and our friends outside the Lord’s church need this Atonement-based relationship more than we need any other form of therapy or support: “O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

“For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” (Isa. 43:1–3; emphasis added.)

Elder Bruce C. Hafen

The Restored Doctrine of the Atonement,” Ensign, Dec 1993, 7

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April 21, 2017

General Authorities, Gratitude, Hinckley, Humility

Comments Off on Gratitude is an acknowledgment of a greater power and an acceptance of God’s commandments

Gratitude is a divine principle. The Lord has declared through revelation: “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things. …

“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.” (D&C 59:7, 21.)

Our society is afflicted by a spirit of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been so magnificently blessed. How grateful we should be for the bounties we enjoy. Absence of gratitude is the mark of the narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in wanton mischief. We have seen our beaches, our parks, our forests littered with ugly refuse by those who evidently have no appreciation for their beauty. I have driven through thousands of acres of blackened land scourged by a fire evidently set by a careless smoker whose only concern had been the selfish pleasure gained from a cigarette.

Where there is appreciation, there is courtesy, there is concern for the rights and property of others. Without appreciation, there is arrogance and evil.

Where there is gratitude, there is humility, as opposed to pride.

How magnificently we are blessed! How thankful we ought to be!

. . . .

Cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving for the blessing of life and for the marvelous gifts and privileges each of us enjoy. The Lord has said that the meek shall inherit the earth. (See Matt. 5:5.) I cannot escape the interpretation that meekness implies a spirit of gratitude as opposed to an attitude of self-sufficiency, an acknowledgment of a greater power beyond oneself, a recognition of God, and an acceptance of his commandments. This is the beginning of wisdom. Walk with gratitude before him who is the giver of life and every good gift.

President Gordon B. Hinckley
“‘With All Thy Getting Get Understanding’,” Ensign, Aug 1988, 2–5

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April 20, 2017

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, Repentance, Sin, Taylor

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Jesus had to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself…. And as he in his own person bore the sins of all, and atoned for them by the sacrifice of himself, so there came upon him the weight and agony of ages and generations, the indescribable agony consequent upon this great sacrificial atonement wherein he bore the sins of the world, and suffered in his own person the consequences of an eternal law of God broken by man. Hence his profound grief, his indescribable anguish, his overpowering torture, all experienced in the submission to the eternal fiat of Jehovah and the requirements of an inexorable law.

The suffering of the Son of God was not simply the suffering of personal death; for in assuming the position that he did in making an atonement for the sins of the world he bore the weight, the responsibility, and the burden of the sins of all men, which, to us, is incomprehensible.

Groaning beneath this concentrated load, this intense, incomprehensible pressure, this terrible exaction of Divine Justice, from which feeble humanity shrank, and through the agony thus experienced sweating great drops of blood, He was led to exclaim, ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ He had wrestled with the superincumbent load in the wilderness, He had struggled against the powers of darkness that had been let loose upon him there; placed below all things, His mind surcharged with agony and pain, lonely and apparently helpless and forsaken, in his agony the blood oozed from His pores.

 

President John Taylor
The Mediation and Atonement, Page 149-150

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April 19, 2017

Christofferson, Faith, General Authorities

Comments Off on Jesus is teaching us that we should look to God each day for the bread we require in that particular day

Asking for and receiving daily bread at God’s hand plays a vital part in learning to trust God and in enduring life’s challenges. . . . As we seek and receive divine bread daily, our faith and trust in God and His Son grow.

. . . .

Jesus is teaching us, His disciples, that we should look to God each day for the bread – the help and sustenance – we require in that particular day.

. . . .

The Lord’s invitation to seek our daily bread at our Heavenly Father’s hand, speaks of a loving God, aware of even the small, daily needs of His children and anxious to assist them, one by one.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
CES Fireside, January 9, 2011

(Link to CES broadcast fixed)

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April 18, 2017

Christmas, General Authorities, Monson

Comments Off on Giving the Gift of Gratitude by Living Christ’s Teachings

On the eve of His birth, the voice of the Lord came unto Nephi, saying, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” 3

What did the holy prophets of old declare? Isaiah, more than 700 years before the birth of Christ, prophesied, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” 4

On the American continent, King Benjamin said: “For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent … shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay. … He shall suffer temptations, and pain. … And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.” 5

Then came that night of nights when the shepherds were abiding in the fields and the angel of the Lord appeared to them, announcing: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. … For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” 6

The shepherds with haste went to the manger to pay honor to Christ the Lord. Later, wise men journeyed from the East to Jerusalem, saying: “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. … When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” 7

Since that time, the spirit of giving gifts has been present in the mind of each Christian as he or she commemorates the Christmas season. Our Heavenly Father gave to us His Son, Jesus Christ. That precious Son gave to us His life, the Atonement, and victory over the grave.

What will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that He “went about doing good.” 8 As we do likewise, the Christmas spirit will be ours.

President Thomas S. Monson

What Is Christmas?,” Liahona, Dec 1998, 3

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April 17, 2017

Death, Eternal Life, Hope, Longfellow, Resurrection

Comments Off on Dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul

After the death of his wife, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow went into a long depression.  For a period of three years, he was unable to write.

Following is the poem that brought him out of his despondency:

TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!—
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A Psalm of Life

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