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

God’s grace is sufficient for each of us. Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage, and our personal progress should be yet another way we witness to the wonder of it all!

True, there are no instant Christians, but there are constant Christians!

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Notwithstanding My Weakness,” Ensign, Nov 1976, 12

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July 14, 2017

Bednar, Enabling Power, General Authorities, General Conference

Comments Off on Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

We are commanded and instructed to so live that our fallen nature is changed through the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost. President Marion G. Romney taught that the baptism of fire by the Holy Ghost “converts [us] from carnality to spirituality. It cleanses, heals, and purifies the soul. … Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, and water baptism are all preliminary and prerequisite to it, but [the baptism of fire] is the consummation. To receive [this baptism of fire] is to have one’s garments washed in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ” (Learning for the Eternities, comp. George J. Romney [1977], 133; see also 3 Nephi 27:19–20).

Hence, as we are born again and strive to always have His Spirit to be with us, the Holy Ghost sanctifies and refines our souls as if by fire (see 2 Nephi 31:13–14, 17). Ultimately, we are to stand spotless before God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. Repenting of our sins and seeking forgiveness are spiritually necessary, and we must always do so. But remission of sin is not the only or even the ultimate purpose of the gospel. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that “we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2), as did King Benjamin’s people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted. This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord. Our spiritual purpose is to overcome both sin and the desire to sin, both the taint and the tyranny of sin.

Prophets throughout the ages have emphasized the dual requirements of (1) avoiding and overcoming bad and (2) doing good and becoming better. Consider the penetrating questions posed by the Psalmist:

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3–4).

Brothers and sisters, it is possible for us to have clean hands but not have a pure heart. Please notice that both clean hands and a pure heart are required to ascend into the hill of the Lord and to stand in His holy place.

Let me suggest that hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior’s Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us.

Elder David A. Bednar

Clean Hands and a Pure Heart,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 80–83

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July 13, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Zeballos

Comments Off on We Will be Doing All That is Possible to Achieve the Impossible

Salvation and eternal life would not be possible if it were not for the Atonement, brought about by our Savior, to whom we owe everything. But in order for these supreme blessings to be effective in our lives, we should first do our part, ‘for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’

Let us with faith, enthusiasm, dedication, responsibility, and love do all that is within our reach, and we will be doing all that is possible to achieve the impossible—that is, to achieve what for the human mind is impossible but with the divine intervention of our loving Father and the infinite sacrifice brought about by our Savior becomes the greatest gift, the most glorious of realities, to live forever with God and with our families.

Elder Jorge F. Zeballos
Attempting the Impossible“, Ensign, Nov. 2009, 33–34
(paragraph break inserted to enhance online readability)

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July 11, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Humility, Maxwell, Meekness, Repentance

Comments Off on Pride prefers cheap repentance, paid for with shallow sorrow

In this rigorous process [of repentance], so much clearly depends upon meekness. Pride keeps repentance from even starting or continuing. Some fail because they are more concerned with the preservation of their public image than with having Christ’s image in their countenances! (Alma 5:14.) Pride prefers cheap repentance, paid for with shallow sorrow. Unsurprisingly, seekers after cheap repentance also search for superficial forgiveness instead of real reconciliation. Thus, real repentance goes far beyond simply saying, “I’m sorry.”

In the anguishing process of repentance, we may sometimes feel God has deserted us. The reality is that our behavior has isolated us from Him. Thus, while we are turning away from evil but have not yet turned fully to God, we are especially vulnerable. Yet we must not give up, but, instead, reach out to God’s awaiting arm of mercy, which is outstretched “all the day long.” (Jacob 5:47; Jacob 6:4; 2 Ne. 28:32; Morm. 5:11.) Unlike us, God has no restrictive office hours.

No part of walking by faith is more difficult than walking the road of repentance. However, with “faith unto repentance,” we can push roadblocks out of the way, moving forward to beg God for mercy. (Alma 34:16.) True contrition brings full capitulation. One simply surrenders, caring only about what God thinks, not what “they” think, while meekly offering, “O God, … make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee.” (Alma 22:18.) Giving away all our sins is the only way we can come to know God.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Repentance, General Conference, October, 1991

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July 8, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Monson, New Testament

Comments Off on We Can All Walk Where Jesus Walked

We need not visit the Holy Land to feel him close to us. We need not walk by the shores of Galilee or among the Judean hills to walk where Jesus walked.

In a very real sense, all can walk where Jesus walked when, with his words on our lips, his spirit in our hearts, and his teachings in our lives, we journey through mortality.

Then-Elder Thomas S. Monson
The Paths Jesus Walked“, Ensign, May 1974, 48

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July 7, 2017

Bowen, Discouragement, Forgiveness, General Authorities, General Conference

Comments Off on Is it possible to reclaim a life that has become so strewn with garbage that the person appears unforgivable?

Is it possible to reclaim a life that through reckless abandon has become so strewn with garbage that it appears that the person is unforgivable? Or what about the one who is making an honest effort but has fallen back into sin so many times that he feels that there is no possible way to break the seemingly endless pattern? Or what about the person who has changed his life but just can’t forgive himself?

. . . .

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each of us. His Atonement is infinite. It applies to everyone, even you. It can clean, reclaim, and sanctify even you. That is what infinite means—total, complete, all, forever.

Elder Shayne M. Bowen
The Atonement Can Clean, Reclaim, and Sanctify Our Lives, Ensign, Nov. 2006, 33–34

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July 5, 2017

Christofferson, Consecration, General Authorities, General Conference

Comments Off on True Success in This Life Comes in Consecrating Our Lives to God’s Purpose

To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes (see John 17:1, 4; D&C 19:19). In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Reflections on a Consecrated Life

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June 28, 2017

Cook, General Authorities, General Conference, Plan of Salvation

Comments Off on Our Father’s Plan – Big Enough for All His Children

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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June 26, 2017

Forgiveness, General Authorities, General Conference, Packer, Repentance, Restitution

Comments Off on Fixing that which you broke and cannot fix is the very purpose of the Atonement of Christ

The gospel teaches us that relief from torment and guilt can be earned through repentance. Save for those few who defect to perdition after having known a fulness, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness.

. . . .

When an offense is minor, so simple a thing as an apology will satisfy the law. Most mistakes can be settled between us and the Lord, and that should be done speedily. (See D&C 109:21) It requires a confession to Him, and whatever obvious repairs need to be made.

With sincere repentance as a pattern in our lives, measured by our willingness to “confess them and forsake them,” (D&C 58:43; see also Ezek. 18:21–24, 31–32) the Lord has promised that we may “always retain a remission of [our] sins.” (Mosiah 4:12)

. . . .

To earn forgiveness, one must make restitution. That means you give back what you have taken or ease the pain of those you have injured.

But sometimes you cannot give back what you have taken because you don’t have it to give. If you have caused others to suffer unbearably—defiled someone’s virtue, for example—it is not within your power to give it back.

There are times you cannot mend that which you have broken. Perhaps the offense was long ago, or the injured refused your penance. Perhaps the damage was so severe that you cannot fix it no matter how desperately you want to.

Your repentance cannot be accepted unless there is a restitution. If you cannot undo what you have done, you are trapped. It is easy to understand how helpless and hopeless you then feel and why you might want to give up, just as Alma did.

The thought that rescued Alma, when he acted upon it, is this: Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and you cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ.

When your desire is firm and you are willing to pay the “uttermost farthing,” (See Matt. 5:25–26) the law of restitution is suspended. Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts.

President Boyd K. Packer
The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness“, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 18

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June 24, 2017

Forgiveness, General Authorities, General Conference, Uchtdorf

Comments Off on They are Forgiven

Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.

Lay your burden at the Savior’s feet. Let go of judgment. Allow Christ’s Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another.

.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference, April, 2012

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