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

July 20, 2017

Bednar, Faith, General Authorities, General Conference, Obedience

Comments Off on Each prayer, each episode of scripture study is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls

In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.

Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.

Elder David A. Bednar
More Diligent and Concerned at Home, General Conference, October, 2009

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July 1, 2017

Faith, General Authorities, Maxwell

Comments Off on Maxwell – His Astonishing Atonement

Not understanding who Jesus really is by title and role inevitably sets up a lack of gratitude for His astonishing atonement. If we do not regard Him highly enough to pay heed to His words about who He is, we will pay less heed to what He says and requires of us. The resulting diminution of regard and comprehension will result in little faith. What “think [we] of Christ” inevitably determines His operative relevancy for our lives.

Contrariwise, a positive and interactive multiplier effect flows from having faith in Christ as the anointed Messiah, the King and Deliverer. This facet of faith complements faith in His Father, who chose and anointed Jesus as the Redeemer of mankind; and this in turn begets faith in the Father’s plan of salvation.

Therefore, defining Jesus, as some do, as a great moral teacher-and He was clearly the greatest-just won’t suffice. Without full faith in Jesus as mankind’s rescuing Messiah, we also will lack faith in His capacity to rescue us individually and to help us daily. Besides, how can one consistently regard Jesus as a great moral teacher, and therefore truthful and honorable, if one does not accept Jesus’ statements about His true identity?

As it was anciently, so it is in our skeptical day. The “great question” remains-“Is there really a redeeming Christ?” (See Alma 34:5.)

There is!

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Lord Increase Our Faith (Bookcraft, 1994)

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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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June 12, 2017

Faith, General Authorities, General Conference, Humility, Scott

Comments Off on A righteous life produces an inner power and strength that can be resistant to the influence of sin and transgression

Material things do not of themselves produce happiness and satisfaction and the joy of attainment on earth. Nor do they lead us to exaltation. It is nobility of character, that fabric of inner strength and conviction woven from countless righteous decisions, that gives life its direction. A consistent, righteous life produces an inner power and strength that can be permanently resistant to the eroding influence of sin and transgression. Your faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His commandments will strengthen your character. Your character is a measure of what you are becoming. It is the evidence of how well you are using your time on earth in this period of mortal probation.

An axiom we all understand is that you get what you pay for. That is true for spiritual matters as well. You get what you pay for in obedience, in faith in Jesus Christ, in diligent application of the truths you learn. What you get is the molding of character, the growth in capacity, and the successful completion of your mortal purpose to be proven and to have joy.

You cannot be passive in life, or in time the natural man will undermine your efforts to live worthily. You become what you do and what you think about. Lack of character leads one under pressure to satisfy appetite or seek personal gain. You cannot successfully bolster a weak character with the cloak of pretense.

. . . .

Humility is that quality that permits us to be taught from on high through the Spirit or to be taught from sources whose origin was inspiration from the Lord, such as the scriptures and the comments of the prophets. Humility is the precious fertile soil of righteous character. In it the seeds of personal growth germinate. When cultivated through the exercise of faith, pruned by repentance, and fortified by obedience and good works, such seeds produce the cherished fruit of spiritual direction. Divine inspiration and power then result—inspiration to know the will of the Lord, power to provide the ability to accomplish that inspired will.

Elder Richard G. Scott
The Transforming Power of Faith and Character

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June 11, 2017

Faith, Grace, Justification, Paul, Sin

Comments Off on Grace – Part 4 – All Have Sinned

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 3:23-28

Note that when Paul speaks of the law in verse 28, he is referring to the Law of Moses and the term, “without” in the original Greek is “apart from” or “without intervention of”.

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June 10, 2017

Andersen, Faith, General Authorities, General Conference

Comments Off on Faith is Not Only a Feeling. It is a Decision.

Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. With prayer, study, obedience, and covenants, we build and fortify our faith. Our conviction of the Savior and His latter-day work becomes the powerful lens through which we judge all else. Then, as we find ourselves in the crucible of life, . . . we have the strength to take the right course.

Elder Neil L. Anderson
It’s True, Isn’t It? Then What Else Matters?, General Conference, April, 2007

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April 19, 2017

Christofferson, Faith, General Authorities

Comments Off on Jesus is teaching us that we should look to God each day for the bread we require in that particular day

Asking for and receiving daily bread at God’s hand plays a vital part in learning to trust God and in enduring life’s challenges. . . . As we seek and receive divine bread daily, our faith and trust in God and His Son grow.

. . . .

Jesus is teaching us, His disciples, that we should look to God each day for the bread – the help and sustenance – we require in that particular day.

. . . .

The Lord’s invitation to seek our daily bread at our Heavenly Father’s hand, speaks of a loving God, aware of even the small, daily needs of His children and anxious to assist them, one by one.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
CES Fireside, January 9, 2011

(Link to CES broadcast fixed)

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April 16, 2017

Alma, Faith, Millett

Comments Off on Faith is in fact the antidote to doubt

Many years ago Elder John A. Widtsoe pointed out that each of us will have questions so long as we are thinking, reflective human beings. Questions are a part of life, a vital part of growing in truth and understanding. But doubt should be only a temporary condition, a state that is resolved either through the serious pursuit and investigation of the matter under consideration—resulting in acquisition of new knowledge by study or by faith—or in a settled determination to place the question “on the shelf” for the time being, at least until new insights or perspectives are forthcoming.

That forward pursuit in which we do not allow the unknown to distract or beset us, is called faith. Faith is in fact the antidote to doubt, the answer to skepticism, the solution to cynicism. It is, as Alma explained, “the hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). Out of such faith flows hope, an “anchor to the souls of men which [makes] them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).

Robert B. Millett
Making the Crucial Decision—Now, Mormon Scholars Testify
(Referencing Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960), 31-33, paragraph breaks added to enhance online readability)

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April 7, 2017

Adversity, Andersen, Faith, General Authorities, General Conference

Comments Off on Approached with Faith, Refining Experiences Bring a Deeper Conversion of the Savior’s Reality

Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.

Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix, and forgive others when it hurts.

Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely.

Will we be astonished at times to see the anger a few feel toward the Lord’s Church, and their efforts to steal the struggling faith of the weak? Yes. But this will not deter the growth or destiny of the Church, nor need it impede the spiritual progress of each of us as disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

. . . .

As we follow the Savior, without question there will be challenges that confront us. Approached with faith, these refining experiences bring a deeper conversion of the Savior’s reality. Approached in a worldly way, these same experiences cloud our view and weaken our resolve. Some we love and admire slip from the straight and narrow path, and “walk no more with Him.”

. . . .

Offense comes in many costumes and continually finds its way on stage. People we believe in disappoint us. We have unanticipated difficulties. Our life doesn’t turn out exactly the way we were expecting. We make mistakes, feel unworthy, and worry about being forgiven. We wonder about a doctrinal issue. We learn of something spoken from a Church pulpit 150 years ago that bothers us. Our children are treated unfairly. We are ignored or underappreciated. It could be a hundred things, each very real to us at the time.

. . . .

If we are not watchful, our injured spirit will retreat back into the cold, dark crust of our former bloated ego, leaving behind the warm, healing light of the Savior.

Elder Neil L. Andersen
Saturday Morning Session
General Conference, October 2010

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April 5, 2017

Faith, General Authorities, General Conference, Scott

Comments Off on We Become What We Want to Be by Consistently Being What We Want to Become Each Day

President Hugh B. Brown said: “Wherever in life great spiritual values await man’s appropriation, only faith can appropriate them. Man cannot live without faith, because in life’s adventure the central problem is character-building—which is not a product of logic, but of faith in ideals and sacrificial devotion to them” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1969, 105). We exercise faith by doing. Joseph Smith said that “faith [is] the principle of action and of power” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 72).

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming. Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind. In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality.

Neither Satan nor any other power can destroy or undermine your growing character. Only you could do that through disobedience. A sterling character is converted into worthless ashes when eroded by deceit or transgression.

Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed.

Elder Richard G. Scott
The Transforming Power of Faith and Character
General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session, 2010

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