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

May 21, 2016

Cornish, Forgiveness, Fundamental Principles, Necessity of Atonement

Comments Off on Sadly, Many Do Not Believe in a Redeemer

Sadly, many do not believe in a Redeemer or understand the need for an atonement, even though they acknowledge human failings. They are left to believe, therefore, that we can never be truly happy, that this life is all there is, and that we must find pleasure here and there as best we can. Without a Savior to redeem and reform us, there is little hope of lasting improvement in humanity. Such a dismal view of life can be corrected by a study of the Book of Mormon. Father Lehi taught that “redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

“Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. …

“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth” (2 Nephi 2:6–8).

Common Misunderstandings

Many Church members have been taught the concepts of why we need an atonement, but there are elements of this doctrine that are often misunderstood. Errors in thinking can lessen the hope and joy they ought to feel or cause them to wander into byways of sin or despair. I would like to address a few common misunderstandings about the Atonement.

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).

Elder J. Devn Cornish, Area Authority Seventy
Learning How the Atonement Can Change You, Ensign, April, 2002

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