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

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a work that was undertaken by a group of professors at Brigham Young University. While it is not recognized as official Church doctrine, the Encyclopedia has been cited on a number of occasions by General Authorities in general conference and is a highly-reliable non-doctrinal resource.

As I was reading the entry for Atonement, I noticed that Jeffrey R. Holland was the author. Elder Holland was the president of Brigham Young University when the Encyclopedia project was begun.

Following is an excerpt from Elder Holland’s essay on the Atonement:

The universal, infinite, and unconditional aspects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ are several. They include his ransom for Adam’s original transgression so that no member of the human family is held responsible for that sin (A of F 2; see Original Sin). Another universal gift is the resurrection from the dead of every man, woman, and child who lives, has ever lived, or ever will live, on the earth. Thus, the Atonement is not only universal in the sense that it saves the entire human family from physical death, but it is also infinite in the sense that its impact and efficacy in making redemption possible for all reach back in one direction to the beginning of time and forward in the other direction throughout all eternity. In short, the Atonement has universal, infinite, and unconditional consequences for all mankind throughout the duration of all eternity.

Emphasizing these unconditional gifts arising out of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, Latter-day Saints believe that other aspects of Christ’s gift are conditional upon obedience and diligence in keeping God’s commandments. For example, while members of the human family are freely and universally given a reprieve from Adam’s sin through no effort or action of their own, they are not freely and universally given a reprieve of their own sins unless they pledge faith in Christ, repent of those sins, are baptized in his name, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and confirmation into Christ’s church, and press forward with a brightness of hope and faithful endurance for the remainder of life’s journey. Of this personal challenge, Christ said, “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit-and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink” (D&C 19:16-18).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
The Atonement of Jesus Christ
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Macmillan Publishing, 1992

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