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 27, 2016

Bible, Paul, Renewal

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14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

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The nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 51)

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

Moroni 10:32

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September 25, 2016

General Authorities, McConkie

Comments Off on It is Time for Israel to Come Home

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.

Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Luke 17:34-37

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And so we see the eagles of Israel scattered by the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. We see them flying in the skies of all nations in search of spiritual food, waiting for a day when life-assuring morsels will come into view. They are free, independent thinkers, anxious to escape the darkness of the night and to soar into the dawn of a new day. The creeds of men do not feed their souls. They are not at rest in the lands of their scattering. They yearn for that which their fathers enjoyed in the days of their ancient glory.

Then the food that will feed their souls is made available. The gospel is restored; the Book of Mormon comes forth; the gifts and graces enjoyed by the ancients are again found on earth. It is time for Israel to come home. The eagles are invited to feast upon the good word of God. They seek the food that satisfies the soul. They descend from their lofty heights of worldliness and feast upon those things of which men may eat and never hunger more. The gospel gathers Israel, and where it is, there the eagles of Israel shall be found.

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Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Millennial Messiah

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September 24, 2016

Eyring, Faith, General Authorities, General Conference, Trust

Comments Off on A Lack of Trust in God Brings Sadness

God sends messages and authorized messengers to His children. I am to build trust in God and His servants enough that we will go out and obey His counsel. He wants that because He loves us and wants our happiness. And He knows how a lack of trust in Him brings sadness.

President Henry B. Eyring
Sunday Morning Session, General Conference, October, 2010

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September 23, 2016

Grace, Gratitude, King Benjamin, Lund

Comments Off on Remembrance is the Seed of Gratitude

King Benjamin initially emphasized one aspect of God’s graciousness, that God is responsible for our creation. By this, Benjamin seemed to have meant not just the making of our own bodies, but the whole of creation-the heavens, the earth, and all that in them are. That simple fact alone should be basis enough for our unending gratitude. When a man creates something through his own labor-a work of art, a building, a piece of furniture, great music-we say that it is his. In other words, we recognize that he has claim upon it, that he has stewardship over it, that he has the right to do with it as he wishes.

By that same principle, we should acknowledge that because all that we see and know comes from the labor of God’s hands, it is his. Therefore, whatever we have, or take, or use, or enjoy puts us automatically in his debt. In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord clearly stated that this is indeed the case: “For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine” ( D&C 104:13-14; emphasis added). Note the possessive phrases used in those verses: “which I have made,” “my very handiwork,” “all things therein are mine.” As the Psalmist said, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1).

Think for a moment how that simple concept would alter people’s thinking if they would really accept it. We clutch things to our bosom and say, “These are mine.” Individuals rob, cheat, and steal, or they manipulate and maneuver so they may be able to claim things as their own. Figuratively, the rich sit on their velvet thrones, drinking from golden goblets, and ignore the desperate sufferings of the poor because they think that what they have received belongs solely to them. Nations go to war over lands that they did nothing to create.

If we truly believed that God was the owner of all things, that man was only a user and a borrower, our approach to life would alter drastically. A classic illustration of that principle was the man Job. After facing devastating losses of family, property, and health, he stated simply, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Henry B. Eyring spoke of this natural human tendency to forget all that God has done for us: “We so easily forget that we came into life with nothing. Whatever we get soon seems our natural right, not a gift. And we forget the giver. Then our gaze shifts from what we have been given to what we don’t have yet. . . . The remembrance urged upon us by King Benjamin can be ours. Remembrance is the seed of gratitude.

Elder Gerald N. Lund, Selected Writings of Gerald N. Lund, (1995, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah)

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September 22, 2016

Grace, Healing, Madsen, Mercy, Temple

Comments Off on To Receive Him Fully is to Receive the Fullness of His Atonement

[W]e are promised that in the temple the Lord’s name will be put upon us. It means at root that we become his. The answer to “Who am I?” can never be complete unless it answers “Whose am I?” You are the son or daughter of a king. The Father himself. Through the ordinances you are begotten spiritually through his Son. You become heir to his throne. That is a worldly way of saying it. But it is true. An old Jewish proverb says that the worst thing the evil inclination can ever do to you is to make you forget that you are the son or daughter of a king. I don’t know how you can forget that in the temple. You take his name.

To receive him fully is to receive the fullness of his atonement. Think about it—the at-one-ment that Jesus Christ wrought by the shedding of his own blood. The atonement was, and is, to enable us to overcome through his grace and healing power three things: Ignorance, sin, and death. Hence I often say the temple is a matter of life and death.

“A man cannot be saved in ignorance.” This passage refers to a specific kind of ignorance. The preceding verse is talking about sealing, about coming to know by revelation through the power of the Holy Priesthood not only that Jesus is the Christ, but also that a relationship has been forged between you and Jesus Christ. It is a testimony that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that he is making you his. How do you come to know that? I can only tell you that the promise does pertain to the temple. And we may come to a like testimony about temple sealings to our progenitors and our children.

The Savior said that he came that men might have life, and have it more abundantly. Life, abundant life, is pluralized in the teachings of Joseph Smith as “eternal lives.”

You are all alive in several ways and to certain degrees. You are alive intellectually; you think, you study, you teach. There is, no matter what else we do each day, the life of the mind. Then there is the life of the heart. The word in Hebrew is leb, “heart,” the inmost throbbing center. A hard heart is different than a malleable, tender heart. Christ’s heart is tender. Those who come to him feeling mercy and gratitude for his mercy are tenderized in the very center of their being.

We seek life in another way. It is the creative life. It is lodged in the cry of ancient Israelite fathers and mothers: “Give me children, or I die.” This is the life of creation and procreation.

I testify that in the house of the Lord all three of these modes of life are enhanced and magnified and increased. Therein we are promised that whatever our age or the decline and disabilities that we experience here, we will one day enter in at the gate to eternal lives. On that day of renewal, we will emerge into a celestial condition, into the “fulness of the glory of the Father.” There the glorious privilege of priesthood, parenthood, and godhood come together as one. There will be the reunion of the separated forever. As this is the crowning ordinance of the house of God, it is also the crowning truth of the gospel.

Truman G. Madsen
The Temple and the Atonement, The Maxwell Institute

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September 21, 2016

C.S. Lewis, Humility, Reconciliation, Repentance

Comments Off on Repentance is simply a description of what going back to God is like

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off if he chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back. It cannot happen.

Very well, then, we must go through with it. But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it. Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak.

He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another. When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them.

We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity, Chapter 4, Page 57
(paragraph breaks added to enhance online readability)

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September 20, 2016

C.S. Lewis, Faith, Works

Comments Off on Regarding the debate about faith and works

Regarding the debate about faith and works: It’s like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most important.

C.S. Lewis
Joyful Christian, page 135

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September 19, 2016

C.S. Lewis, Humility

Comments Off on How little people know who think that holiness is dull

How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing (and perhaps, like you, I have met it only once) it is irresistable. If even 10% of the world’s population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before a year’s end?

C.S. Lewis
Letters to an American Lady, page 19

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September 18, 2016

Christofferson, General Authorities, General Conference, Grace, Repentance

Comments Off on You Can Offer the Lord the Gift of Your Broken, or Repentant, Heart

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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