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 28, 2017

Cook, General Authorities, General Conference, Plan of Salvation

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At the time Joseph Smith received revelations and organized the Church, the vast majority of churches taught that the Savior’s Atonement would not bring about the salvation of most of mankind. The common precept was that a few would be saved and the overwhelming majority would be doomed to endless tortures of the most awful and unspeakable intensity.  The marvelous doctrine revealed to the Prophet Joseph unveiled to us a plan of salvation that is applicable to all mankind, including those who do not hear of Christ in this life, children who die before the age of accountability, and those who have no understanding.

At death, righteous spirits live in a temporary state called paradise. Alma the Younger teaches us “paradise [is] a state of rest, a state of peace, where [the righteous] shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”  The unrighteous spirits dwell in spirit prison, sometimes referred to as hell.  It is described as an awful place, a dark place where those fearful of the “indignation of the wrath of God” shall remain until the resurrection.  However, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all spirits blessed by birth will ultimately be resurrected, spirit and body reunited, and inherit kingdoms of glory that are superior to our existence here on earth.  The exceptions are confined to those who, like Satan and his angels, willfully rebel against God.  At the resurrection, the spirit prison or hell will deliver up its captive spirits. Jesus came into the world “to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness.”

The Savior said: “Let not your heart be troubled. … In my Father’s house are many mansions. … I go to prepare a place for you.”  A succinct summary is provided in the book of Moses: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

. . . .

I rejoice in the great plan of salvation that is big enough for all of our Father in Heaven’s children. I express gratitude beyond my ability to articulate for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I bear my witness of Him in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Our Father’s Plan—Big Enough for All His Children,” Ensign, May 2009, 34–38

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February 8, 2017

Cook, General Authorities, General Conference, Grace

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What glorious gospel news is an understanding of this doctrine of grace, which persuades us to more fully center our faith and hope upon Jesus Christ. Through the grace of the Father, we will better know how to come unto the Son. (1 Ne. 15:14–15.)

Let us be submissive to the Father’s will, recognizing that His will is preeminent. How thankful we ought to be to submit to His will, because He and His Son will never do anything “save it be for the benefit of the world.” (2 Ne. 26:24.)

By seeking the intercession of the Lord more fully in our lives:

• We will “grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.” (D&C 50:40.)

• We will “teach … diligently and [His] grace shall attend [us].” (D&C 88:78.)

• For our labor, we will “receive the grace of God, that [we] might wax strong in the Spirit, … that [we] might teach with power and authority from God.” (Mosiah 18:26.)

• We will not “fall from grace.” (D&C 20:32.)

• We will “receive grace for grace” (D&C 93:20).

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16.)

I bear witness that if we will seek the grace of God, He will come to our aid and the aid of our loved ones in times of need. Let us obey the Lord in all things and offer to Him the ultimate sacrifice of “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Ne. 9:20; see also 3 Ne. 12:19.)

Elder Gene R. Cook

Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1993, 79

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August 22, 2016

Cook, General Authorities, General Conference, Missionary

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In addition to protecting our own families, we should be a source of light in protecting our communities. The Savior said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Our day has been described as “a time of plenty and an age of doubt.” Basic belief in the power and authority of God is not only questioned, but also denigrated. How under these circumstances can we promote values in a way that will resonate with the non-believers and the apathetic and help abate the spiraling descent into violence and evil?

The question is of monumental importance…

I believe that light and truth will be preserved in our time. In all nations there are large numbers who worship God and feel accountable to Him for their conduct. Some observers believe there is actually a global revival of faith. As Church leaders we have met with leaders of other faiths and have found that there is a common moral foundation that transcends theological differences and unites us in our aspirations for a better society.

We also find the majority of people art still respectful of basic moral values. But make no mistake there are also people who are determined to both destroy faith and reject any religious influence in society…The power and influence of these people is very large even in they are relatively small in number…

In our increasingly unrighteous world it is essential that values bases on religious belief be part of the public discourse. Moral positions informed by a religious conscience must be accorded equal access to the public square. Under the constitutions of most countries a religious conscience may not be given preference, but neither should it be disregarded.

Elder Quentin L. Cook
Saturday Afternoon Session, General Conference, October 2, 2010

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November 2, 2015

Cook, General Authorities, General Conference, Revelation

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My principal concern is for the honorable people on the earth who are open to religious faith but have been discouraged or confused by incorrect doctrine. For instance, with respect to the doctrine that revelation still exists, some very good people have been confident that the Church could not be true because they have been taught, and therefore believe, that the heavens are closed and there will be no additional revelation, no scripture, and no pronouncements from heaven. Let me emphasize that this widely held belief is not scriptural, but it is a stumbling block to some.

In a recent best-selling book, the author uses as his principal analogy the interesting fact that for centuries all Europeans believed that all swans were white. It wasn’t until the discovery of Australia that swans of a different color were discovered. The author uses this analogy to help explain events which have actually occurred but were not expected. As I thought about this analogy, I realized that many people have refused to seriously investigate the Church because they believe there can be no revelation in this dispensation. One convert, who is now serving as a mission president, describes how difficult this was for him when he was investigating the Church. He said, “I had been taught all my life that there would never again be prophets and apostles here upon the earth. So to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet created a large stumbling block.” However, when he prayed, he states, “I received a witness that in fact the gospel had been restored to the earth and that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Our Father’s Plan—Big Enough for All His Children,” Ensign, May 2009

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November 2, 2015

Cook, Enabling Power, General Authorities, General Conference

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While Elder David A. Bednar is most closely connected with teaching about the Enabling Power of the Atonement, others have also discussed this aspect of our Savior’s greatest gift to us.

Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy said:

Grace is a “divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.” It is “an enabling power.” (Bible Dictionary, p. 697.) The doctrine of the grace of the Father and the Son and how it affects us is so significant that it is mentioned more than two hundred times in the standard works.

If we can obtain the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that divine enabling power to assist us, we will triumph in this life and be exalted in the life to come.

Let me share with you five principles that may help us obtain that divine intervention in our own life or perhaps vicariously assist in the life of another. These principles are simple to understand but most challenging to apply. You already know all of them. However, you may not have considered how directly related they are to obtaining grace.

The first principle is faith. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace.” (Rom. 5:1–2.)

It is evident that this grace, or enabling power, is accessed by faith. No wonder faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.

How clear Christ’s question was to a sinking Peter, after he had walked on the water: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt. 14:31.) The moment Peter doubted and took his eyes off the Savior, he severed himself from the power of Jesus Christ that had sustained him on the water.

How many times, likewise, as we have prayed for assistance or help with our problems, have we severed ourselves from the power of God because of doubt or fear, and thus could not obtain this enabling power of God? (See D&C 6:36; D&C 67:3.)

Gene R. Cook

Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1993, 79

See posts on Elder Bednar’s discussions of this part of the Atonement here and here.

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August 14, 2014

Cook, Faith, General Authorities, General Conference

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Religious faith is a store of light, knowledge, and wisdom and benefits society in a dramatic way when adherents engage in moral conduct because they feel accountable to God.

Elder Quentin L. Cook
Saturday Morning Session, General Conference, October 2010

June 29, 2010

Cook, Enabling Power, General Authorities, Grace

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Let’s assume that a faithful man named John is praying for a blessing with all his heart, and he does all he can to help bring it to pass, but it’s just not enough. He puts in most of what’s required but not all. He just doesn’t have the capacity to do all that’s required. But he persists and receives the blessing.

Question: Who put in the rest? The law or requirement must be fulfilled, but John wasn’t able to fully do it. Who compensates for his inadequacy?

Answer: The Lord, Jesus Christ. The enabling power of God, or grace, intervened and Jesus Christ contributed what John lacked. And thus the law was fulfilled.

Please understand this. Jesus came not only to save us from our sins but also to assist us with our infirmities, our afflictions, our weaknesses, our problems, and our discouragements. And when he does so, in the process he helps us to qualify for the blessings we seek, and that is called grace.

Now consider another man. This man has less faith than John. This man was baptized just last week. He seeks the same blessing as John, but he cannot muster the faith that John has. As he seeks to obey the required law, all he can do is put in maybe a tenth of what’s needed. Yet he still receives the blessing. Why is that? Again, because Jesus compensated and put the rest in for him. After we have done all in our power, the grace of the Lord will intervene. The prophet Nephi said it masterfully:

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. (2 Nephi 25:23.)

In my judgment, this principle explains why it is that when a little child prays he can so readily receive the blessing. The child doesn’t know how to do very much except give all of his heart, but that’s enough. Then the Lord puts in the rest. Children have great access to the heavens.

We also can have such access if we will pray with all our hearts and do all we can to qualify for the blessing we seek. Then, through the grace, or enabling power, of Christ, the heavens will intervene and bring us that which we desire.

Elder Gene R. Cook
Receiving Answers to Our Prayers
Deseret Book Company (1996)