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

June 29, 2017

Charity, Service

Comments Off on A Very Old New Commandment

When we come to understand how much our Savior has done for us through His Atonement, we develop an overwhelming desire to do something, no matter how inadequate, to take the tiniest step toward repaying Him for His infinite and eternal service to us.

The Lord instructs us as to what we should do when such feelings touch our souls in many different places in the scriptures.  Nowhere are his instructions clearer than in the Gospel of John.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:34

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June 25, 2017

Alma, Charity, Faith, Hope, King Benjamin, Nibley, Power

Comments Off on The Atonement – At Work Every Moment of Our Lives

In its sweep and scope, atonement takes on the aspect of one of the grand constants in nature—omnipresent, unalterable, such as gravity or the speed of light. Like them it is always there, easily ignored, hard to explain, and hard to believe in without an explanation. Also, we are constantly exposed to its effects whether we are aware of them or not. Alma found that it engages the mind like a physical force, focusing thought with the intensity of a laser beam (see Alma 36:17-19). Like gravity, though we are rarely aware of it, it is at work every moment of our lives, and to ignore it can be fatal. It is waiting at our disposal to draw us on. When the multitude were overwhelmed by King Benjamin’s speech, “and they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth, . . . they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, . . . for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 4:2). The blessing is there waiting all the time, needing only to be applied when the people are ready for it.

. . . .

In discoursing on the nature of the Atonement, the Book of Mormon writers constantly refer to power. “My soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord . . . in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death” (2 Nephi 11:5; cf. 9:12, 25; Mosiah 13:34). That would seem to be the final word by way of explaining things. The word power occurs no fewer than 365 times in the Book of Mormon and 276 times in the Bible. The power of the devil is also referred to, but that is only the power we give him when we “choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom” (2 Nephi 2:29).

We have what might be called an aliphatic chain, or rather something like a benzene ring, of power. Does it begin with love, faith, hope, or charity? Yes, for they all work together: “The Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men” (Moroni 7:32, 37-38). Moroni says it begins with love (Moroni 7:47-48), the desire to be one with the Beloved. The power source is faith: “By faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing” (Moroni 7:25). It is interesting that though we exercise faith and so can increase it, we have faith but we never read of receiving it; we ask for and receive health, wisdom, protection, the necessities of life, and life itself, but we do not ask for faith; it is a principle that we seem to generate in ourselves, being dependent on some auxiliary source, for it is stimulated by hope. We can “lay hold” of these things only if we are “meek and lowly” (Matthew 11:29), for we cannot create power by an act of will; if that were possible Satan would be all-powerful. “And [as] Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33).

Hugh Nibley
The Meaning of the Atonement, The Maxwell Institute

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March 22, 2017

Charity, Mother Teresa

Comments Off on The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

— Mother Teresa

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February 26, 2017

Charity, General Authorities, General Conference, Monson, Video

Comments Off on Life is Perfect for None of Us

Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.

President Thomas S. Monson
Charity Never Faileth, General Conference, October, 2010

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February 10, 2017

Charity

Comments Off on Women Hold Up Half the World

This is a story about two women writers. One helps teach the other how to write and the other tells amazing stories.

From Shannon Alder, author of 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before Its Too Late:

When I met Emily, I knew right away that she was the sharpest 91-year-old I had ever known. Working with Emily as her Physical Therapist following her abdominal surgery, I got to know this remarkable woman over a 2-week period. What stories Emily had to tell! Living as Jews in Austria during Hitler’s reign, her family had gone into hiding. Emily survived, but her two siblings were caught and sent to concentration camps where both were killed.

. . . .

I told Emily that she must write her experiences down. I gave her a copy of my book, 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before it’s too Late. Every day when I went to see her, I caught her writing in it. Our discussions always revolved around what she had written, until the last day that I saw her. Not her usual upbeat self, she was concerned with the world’s state of affairs.

. . . .

Emily caught my arm and motioned for me to sit. “I got to the most important question last night in your book. Don’t you want to know what I said?” she sniffled. I sat down beside her and leaned in to hear. “Which question was that?” I asked with enthusiasm. “The most important thing I learned in my life?” she said with a smile. “It’s something I want you to remember and then tell others.” She raised the head of the bed so she could get closer to me. “There’s a Chinese saying I read somewhere. ‘Women hold up half the world.’ Shannon, do your part as a woman to make the world better and stand up for those in need. I should have done more to help out. That is what I regret.”

Link to the rest at Cedar Fort Publishing

 

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January 25, 2017

Caring for the Poor, Charity, Mother Teresa

Comments Off on The Success of Love

The success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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December 26, 2016

Charity, General Authorities, Kimball, Service

Comments Off on Service: It is easier to find ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!

Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are preparing to live in a better world. It is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves! In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves! [See Matthew 10:39.]

Not only do we “find” ourselves in terms of acknowledging divine guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find! …

… The abundant life noted in the scriptures [see John 10:10] is the spiritual sum that is arrived at by the multiplying of our service to others and by investing our talents in service to God and to man. Jesus said, you will recall, that on the first two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, and those two commandments involve developing our love of God, of self, of our neighbors, and of all men [see Matthew 22:36–40]. There can be no real abundance in life that is not connected with the keeping and the carrying out of those two great commandments.

Unless the way we live draws us closer to our Heavenly Father and to our fellowmen, there will be an enormous emptiness in our lives. It is frightening for me to see, for instance, how the life-style of so many today causes them to disengage from their families and their friends and their peers toward a heedless pursuit of pleasure or materialism. So often loyalty to family, to community, and to country is pushed aside in favor of other pursuits which are wrongly thought to be productive of happiness when, in fact, selfishness is so often the pursuit of questionable pleasure which passes so quickly. One of the differences between true joy and mere pleasure is that certain pleasures are realized only at the cost of someone else’s pain. Joy, on the other hand, springs out of selflessness and service, and it benefits rather than hurts others.

. . . .

As the contrasts between the ways of the world and the ways of God become sharpened by circumstance, the faith of the members of the Church will be tried even more severely. One of the most vital things we can do is to express our testimonies through service, which will, in turn, produce spiritual growth, greater commitment, and a greater capacity to keep the commandments. …

There is great security in spirituality, and we cannot have spirituality without service!

President Spencer W. Kimball
Chapter 8: Selfless Service,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: SpencerW. Kimball

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December 4, 2016

Charity, Service

Comments Off on I am a little pencil

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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November 23, 2016

Charity, Forgiveness, General Authorities, General Conference, Holland

Comments Off on He is not a rival, he is your brother

Speaking of the brother of the Prodigal Son, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland reminds us that we must allow the Atonement to work in the lives of others as much as our own:

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This son is not so much angry that the other has come home as he is angry that his parents are so happy about it. Feeling unappreciated and perhaps more than a little self-pity, this dutiful son—and he is wonderfully dutiful—forgets for a moment that he has never had to know filth or despair, fear or self-loathing. He forgets for a moment that every calf on the ranch is already his and so are all the robes in the closet and every ring in the drawer. He forgets for a moment that his faithfulness has been and always will be rewarded.

No, he who has virtually everything, and who has in his hardworking, wonderful way earned it, lacks the one thing that might make him the complete man of the Lord he nearly is. He has yet to come to the compassion and mercy, the charitable breadth of vision to see that this is not a rival returning. It is his brother. As his father pled with him to see, it is one who was dead and now is alive. It is one who was lost and now is found.

Certainly this younger brother had been a prisoner—a prisoner of sin, stupidity, and a pigsty. But the older brother lives in some confinement, too. He has, as yet, been unable to break out of the prison of himself. He is haunted by the green-eyed monster of jealousy. He feels taken for granted by his father and disenfranchised by his brother, when neither is the case. He has fallen victim to a fictional affront. As such he is like Tantalus of Greek mythology—he is up to his chin in water, but he remains thirsty nevertheless. One who has heretofore presumably been very happy with his life and content with his good fortune suddenly feels very unhappy simply because another has had some good fortune as well.

Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this—it is the father of all lies. It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, “Give me thine honor.”

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Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
The Other Prodigal, General Conference, April, 2002

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October 24, 2016

Charity, Eyring, General Authorities

Comments Off on Charity is an Effect of Christ’s Atonement

“The great legacy those who went before you in the Relief Society [has been] passed on to you.

The part of the foundation they laid for you which seems to me most important and persistent is that charity is at the heart of the society and is to come into the heart, to be part of the very nature, of every member. Charity meant to them far more than a feeling of benevolence. Charity is born of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and is an effect of His Atonement working in the hearts of the members.”

President Henry B. Eyring
“The Enduring Legacy of Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 121

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