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

1. Some have a difficult time accepting in their hearts that when the Lord says “all” He means them too. They seem to say to themselves, “I believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind, but what I have done is so terrible or so repeated that I don’t think the Atonement will work for me.” Some who are faithful members of the Church actually seem to believe that they will never make it back to Heavenly Father’s presence. It is the idea that Christ can save all mankind, but He may not be able to save me. This kind of feeling is terribly discouraging, and it can become an excuse to dabble in sin. “After all,” some rationalize, “I’m not going to make it anyway.”

Others can sense that this idea is false and that Christ can save them, but they are not sure He will. The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob taught, “He cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken to his voice; for behold, he suffereth … the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children” (2 Ne.:21). The question is not whether we are perfect or whether we are worth forgiving, but whether we are willing to admit when we do wrong, feel sorry, confess as appropriate, do all we can to set things right, and ask the Lord to forgive us. This is what the Savior meant when He said we must have “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Ne. 9:20). I know that the Lord is ready, even anxious, to forgive each of us personally if we will but come to Him (see Mosiah 26:30).

2. Another mistake is to believe that the Atonement really only comes into effect at the very end, that is, at the time of Final Judgment. This line of thinking is “I know I should live the gospel, but I often fall short. I am just hoping that I will do well enough overall that at the end the Lord will apply His generous mercy to me and I will get in to heaven.” While this thinking is not completely false, it is incomplete. It does include the fact that we must sincerely strive to do what is right, and it includes the idea that the Lord can in His mercy take away our sins. Yet who among us can afford to wait until the Final Judgment to receive the Lord’s help and healing? As a favorite hymn teaches:

I need thy presence ev’ry passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me! 2

I testify that the Lord hears our prayers and that He will make us clean and bless us with His Spirit here and now, if we will trust in Him and repent. We partake of the sacrament each week to renew our covenants and feel that cleansing power anew. We are exhorted to retain a remission of our sins from day to day (see Mosiah 4:26). When we end each prayer “in the name of Jesus Christ, amen,” we are petitioning the Father that we might enter His presence through the mediation of Jesus Christ, who is pleading our cause before Him (see D&C 45:3–5). Surely our Lord desires to succor us at any time, for in Him “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15).

3. A third misunderstanding is a pernicious lie that goes like this: “It doesn’t really matter what I do. The Lord is going to forgive and save everybody. Why not sample in the meantime a bit of what the world has to offer? After all, everyone else is doing it.” The prophet Nephi accurately predicted this way of thinking long ago (see 2 Ne. 28:8).

The Lord, of course, can and wants to forgive everyone, but a full measure of His mercy will only come with complete and deep repentance. If we have not suffered, we have not repented. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “Repentance of necessity involves suffering and sorrow. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not read the life of the young Alma, nor tried to personally repent. In the process of repentance we are granted just a taste of the suffering we would endure if we failed to turn away from evil. That pain, though only momentary for the repentant, is the most bitter of cups.” 3

What a terrible thing to believe mistakenly that sin will be happiness and that repentance will be easy, for one of the terrible consequences of sin is the loss of the Spirit. “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10), and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).

It is also folly to assume that we can premeditatedly sin, repent, and then have the Lord immediately remove all the natural consequences of our sins. When we choose to sin, we also choose the results of those sins. Suppose two people conceive a baby outside of marriage, then repent and are forgiven by the Lord. Will the baby suddenly go away? Obviously not; someone must care for that baby. Though the baby will doubtless bring joy to many lives, some of the consequences of our sins may be difficult to bear. Also, these consequences may not be quickly or easily resolved. We may have to wrestle with some of them for much of our mortal lives. This principle does not detract in any way from the complete and infinite cleansing power of the Atonement. When we truly repent, the Lord fully forgives us and our guilt is swept away (see Enos 1:6). But it is important to understand that the Lord has placed us in a physical world where there are real consequences for our choices.

Elder J. Devn Cornish

Learning How the Atonement Can Change You,” Ensign, Apr 2002, 20.  Elder Cornish was an Area Authority Seventy in the North America Southeast Area when this article was published.

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November 21, 2017

Fundamental Principles, Joseph Smith, Spirit World

Comments Off on An Eternity of Felicity

I have a father, brothers, children, and friends who have gone to a world of spirits. They are only absent for a moment. They are in the spirit, and we shall soon meet again. The time will soon arrive when the trumpet shall sound. When we depart, we shall hail our mothers, fathers, friends, and all whom we love, who have fallen asleep in Jesus. There will be no fear of mobs, persecutions, or malicious lawsuits and arrests; but it will be an eternity of felicity.

Joseph Smith
The King Follett Sermon, April 7, 1844

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November 20, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Marriage, Oaks

Comments Off on The Healing Power and Hope That Come from the Atonement

We know that some look back on their divorces with regret at their own partial or predominant fault in the breakup. All who have been through divorce know the pain and need the healing power and hope that come from the Atonement. That healing power and that hope are there for them and also for their children.
. . . .
If you are already descending into the low state of marriage-in-name-only, please join hands, kneel together, and prayerfully plead for help and the healing power of the Atonement. Your humble and united pleadings will bring you closer to the Lord and to each other and will help you in the hard climb back to marital harmony.

Consider these observations of a wise bishop with extensive experience in counseling members with marriage problems. Speaking of those who eventually divorced, he said:

“Universally, every couple or individual said they recognized that divorce was not a good thing, but they all insisted that their situation was different.

“Universally, they focused on the fault of the spouse and attributed little responsibility to their own behavior. Communication had withered.

“Universally, they were looking back, not willing to leave the baggage of past behavior on the roadside and move on.

“Part of the time, serious sin was involved, but more often they had just ‘fallen out of love,’ saying, ‘He doesn’t satisfy my needs anymore,’ or, ‘She has changed.’

“All were worried about the effect on the children, but always the conclusion was ‘it’s worse for them to have us together and fighting.’ ”

In contrast, the couples who followed this bishop’s counsel and stayed together emerged with their marriages even stronger. That prospect began with their mutual commitment to keep the commandments, stay active in their Church attendance, scripture reading, and prayer, and to work on their own shortcomings. They “recognized the importance and power of the Atonement for their spouse and for themselves,” and “they were patient and would try again and again.” When the couples he counseled did these things, repenting and working to save their marriages, this bishop reported that “healing was achieved 100 percent of the time.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Divorce,” Ensign, May 2007, 70–73

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November 19, 2017

General Authorities, Hinckley, Hope

Comments Off on The Greatest Event in Human History

[Jesus Christ’s] Atonement is the greatest event in human history. There is nothing to compare with it. It is the most fundamental part of our Father’s plan for the happiness of His children. Without it, mortal life would be a dead-end existence with neither hope nor future. The gift of our divine Redeemer brings an entirely new dimension to our lives. Because of our Savior’s sacrifice, instead of dismal oblivion, death becomes only a passage to a more glorious realm. The Resurrection becomes a reality for all. Eternal life becomes available to those who walk in obedience to His commandments” (Australia stake conference satellite broadcast, Feb. 12, 2005).


President Gordon B. Hinckley
Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, September, 2007, 4-8

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November 18, 2017

Eternal Life, Forgiveness, General Authorities, General Conference, Oaks

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As important as it is to lose every desire for sin, eternal life requires more. To achieve our eternal destiny, we will desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being. For example, eternal beings forgive all who have wronged them. They put the welfare of others ahead of themselves. And they love all of God’s children.

If this seems too difficult—and surely it is not easy for any of us—then we should begin with a desire for such qualities and call upon our loving Heavenly Father for help with our feelings. The Book of Mormon teaches us that we should “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:48).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Desire, General Conference, April, 2011
(Paragraph break inserted to enhance online readability)

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November 17, 2017


Comments Off on The Blink of an Eye

“Reuven, do you know what the rabbis tell us God said to Moses when he was about to die?”

I stared at him. “No,” I heard myself say.

“He said to Moses, ‘You have toiled and labored, now you are worthy of rest.’”

I stared at him and didn’t say anything.

“You are no longer a child, Reuven,” my father went on. “It is almost possible to see the way your mind is growing. And your heart, too. Inductive logic, Freud, experimental psychology, mathematizing hypotheses, scientific study of the Talmud. Three years ago, you were still a child. You have become a small giant since the day Danny’s ball struck your eye. You do not see it. But I see it. And it is a beautiful thing to see. So listen to what I am going to tell you. ” He paused for a moment, as if considering his next words carefully, then continued. “Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?” He paused again, his eyes misty now, then went on. “I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that time span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one’s life with meaning. That I do not think you understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here. Do you understand what I am saying?”

Chaim Potok

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November 15, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Monson, New Testament

Comments Off on We Can All Walk Where Jesus Walked

We need not visit the Holy Land to feel him close to us. We need not walk by the shores of Galilee or among the Judean hills to walk where Jesus walked.

In a very real sense, all can walk where Jesus walked when, with his words on our lips, his spirit in our hearts, and his teachings in our lives, we journey through mortality.

Then-Elder Thomas S. Monson
The Paths Jesus Walked“, Ensign, May 1974, 48

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November 15, 2017

Bateman, Chastity, Temple

Comments Off on Christ Owns Us

Writing to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul described sexual sin as a sin against one’s own body and then used the temple metaphor to indicate the seriousness of such acts. He said:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. [1 Corinthians 6:19­20]

To some the last sentence may seem strange. If we own anything on this earth, one would expect it to be our body and our spirit. In a sense that is true. We are our own person. But Paul is pointing out that Christ’s Atonement determines what we become. We still have our agency, but He paid for our future possibilities. In that sense He owns us. We still must submit to Him. We still must give ourselves to Him.

In the garden and on the cross, the Savior’s Atonement made possible our sanctification through the power of His blood and the help of the Holy Ghost. If we strive to live the gospel, our bodies become temples in which the Spirit of God resides. The price paid by the Savior insures that our bodies and spirits will overcome death and be raised to a higher state. By living close to the Holy Ghost, the day will come when we will be changed from mortals to immortals, and our souls will receive a celestial glory. In terms of everything that counts, Christ owns us.

Elder Merrill J. Bateman, then President of Brigham Young University

Temples of Learning, a devotional address was given on 10 September 2002.

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November 14, 2017

Humility, Mother Teresa

Comments Off on If You Are Humble Nothing Will Touch You

If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.

Mother Teresa

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November 14, 2017

Grace, Nibley

Comments Off on Grace and Truth

What are we to do? Lehi explains that if we approach the Lord with “a broken heart and contrite spirit,” we have a case; “and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.” (2 Ne. 2:7.) This puts an end to legalism and litigation. A broken heart and a contrite spirit cannot be faked or even calmly discussed, and that is a prime point: “How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth.” (2 Ne. 2:8.) When all men stand in God’s presence to be judged, punishment will be meted out in terms of legal penalties—the law by which we were bound, the preliminary trials and tests to get us to our final hearing. But that is not what the Judgment is about. What we are expecting in this final judgment is that “happiness which is affixed” to the law and which is the final purpose or end “of the atonement.” (2 Ne. 2:10.)

So we also have our part in achieving in the Atonement. How is it all done? The explanation of predestinationism, Neoplatonism, and Islam is simply that God does it all because he can, which leaves us as completely irresponsible nonentities. That is not the way it really is, and it is not what we want—and it is not what God wants. He wants to be one with us, and we want to be one with the Father, which obviously is completely beyond our present capacity; it is only the Son who can help us: then we need to “look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments”—he will tell us what to do, for he is anxious to help us. “Be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit.” (2 Ne. 2:28.) The Holy Ghost, that other Mediator, who comes to take over when the Lord is absent, seconds him in all things.

“Redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah,” Lehi tells his son, “for he is full of grace and truth.” (2 Ne. 2:6.) That says everything: to be full of grace is everything good that you can possibly conceive of; it is a combination of love, charity, and joy—charis, gratia, and “cheer.” It is everything to be cheerful about and grateful for, and it is boundless love without a shadow of mental reservation, self-interest, or ulterior motive—in short, of anything false or untrue; it is all real, for he is full of grace and truth.

Hugh W. Nibley

The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Part 3,” Ensign, Sep 1990, 22

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