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

By , on April 11, 2010

Resurrection, Vandagriff

My wife and I attended a special performance of the BYU Ballroom Dance Company celebrating the Company’s 50th year yesterday. This is one of the premier dance companies in the world and it has won major national and world competitions many times.

I arrived at the concert expecting a wonderful artistic and musical experience, but I did not expect a spiritual experience. As I watched these talented dancers, I was especially impressed by what careful control they displayed over their bodies. The arms, feet, legs, torso and head moved with great precision, tracking the music and the movements of the other dancers.

When men and women danced in pairs, each dancer displayed a grace and beauty that included something unique to their gender. Each partner moved in a way that enhanced and enlarged the elegance of the other. While each dancer individually was very appealing, the impression presented by combination of the two exceeded the sum of their talents. Again, control of each body was manifested in myriad ways.

While Elder David A. Bednar was President of Ricks College, he made the following statement:

“The precise nature of the test of mortality, then, can be summarized in the following questions: Will my body rule over my spirit, or will my spirit rule over my body? Will I yield to the enticings of the natural man or to the eternal man? That, brothers and sisters, is the test.” ( Bednar, “Ye are the Temple of God” Ricks College Devotional, January 11, 2000)

Elder Bednar was speaking in terms of obeying the law of chastity and, until yesterday, I had always thought of his described test of mortality primarily in terms of the spirit keeping the body in line. However, I now understand that the test is not only to have our spirit direct our body to avoid evil, but also to have our spirit direct our body to perform good and uplifting acts. Of course, this involves service to others, but I believe it also involves creating beauty and expressing truth, whether our instrument is our body alone as with the dancers or our body in combination with a musical instrument, a word processor, a blank canvas, a sewing machine or a collection of kitchen utensils and ingredients.

While the dancers performed, I realized that their spirits were it perfect control of their bodies. Without that control, the performance would not have been nearly so moving and I would not have felt the Holy Ghost as I watched them.

I also realized what a great tragedy it would be if these marvelous bodies were to age and die and lay buried in the ground forever. What a splendid and vital gift it is that our bodies will be resurrected. Christ died so the bodies I watched will be resurrected and come once again under the control of the spirits of the dancers.

In the words of Amulek,

“Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death. The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time . . . .

“Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body . . . .

“Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.” (Alma 11:42-45)

Alma also spoke of this resurrection,

“The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.

“And now, my son, this is the restoration of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets and then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God.” (Alma 40:23-25)

One of the apostate doctrines brought into the early Christian church by Greek philosophers was the idea that the body was inherently evil and only when the spirit left the body behind could it be truly pure. Modern revelation has corrected this erroneous belief.

“The spirit and the body are the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:15-16)

Christ lead the way in this marvelous resurrection. When He rose from the dead on the morning of the third day after His crucifixion, his magnificent and eternal spirit resided in an equally magnificent and eternal body. Because of His Atonement, all of us will be resurrected, our spirits, which never die, rejoining with a body that never dies thereafter.

An even greater potential gift of the Atonement relates to the type of body we will receive upon our resurrection. If we are obedient to the commands of our Savior, His Atonement will give us a resurrected body which is like His body and like that of His Father. Celestial bodies will be filled with light, brighter than the sun.

Celestial bodies will, of course, have arms, feet, legs, torsos and heads and will be capable of dancing. What spectacular and inspiring performances we will then witness as we watch dancers whose bodies perfectly match their spirits, bodies no longer constituted of the elements of a fallen world, bodies overflowing with light, bodies not limited by space or time, bodies saved and exalted by Jesus Christ.

David P. Vandagriff


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