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

August 28, 2017

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, McConkie, Salvation

Comments Off on Without Both Mortality and Immortality Man Cannot Work Out His Salvation

After some thirty-eight or forty hours—three days as the Jews measured time—our Blessed Lord came to the Arimathaean’s tomb, where his partially embalmed body had been placed by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea.

Then, in a way incomprehensible to us, he took up that body which had not yet seen corruption and arose in that glorious immortality which made him like his resurrected Father.

He then received all power in heaven and on earth, obtained eternal exaltation, appeared unto Mary Magdalene and many others, and ascended into heaven, there to sit down on the right hand of God the Father Almighty and to reign forever in eternal glory.

His rising from death on the third day crowned the Atonement. Again, in some way incomprehensible to us, the effects of his resurrection pass upon all men so that all shall rise from the grave.

As Adam brought death, so Christ brought life; as Adam is the father of mortality, so Christ is the father of immortality.

And without both, mortality and immortality, man cannot work out his salvation and ascend to those heights beyond the skies where gods and angels dwell forever in eternal glory.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Purifying Power of Gethsemane“, Ensign, May 1985, 9

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June 1, 2017

General Authorities, Gethsemane, Resurrection, Whitney

Comments Off on The Kind and Gentle Manner in Which He Embraced Me

“One night I dreamed … that I was in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. … I stood behind a tree in the foreground. … Jesus, with Peter, James, and John, came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, He passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed … : ‘Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.’

“As He prayed the tears streamed down His face, which was [turned] toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I wept also, out of pure sympathy with His great sorrow. My whole heart went out to Him. I loved Him with all my soul and longed to be with Him as I longed for nothing else.

“Presently He arose and walked to where those Apostles were kneeling—fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, untinctured by the least show of anger or scolding, asked them if they could not watch with Him one hour. …

“Returning to His place, He prayed again and then went back and found them again sleeping. Again He awoke them, admonished them, and returned and prayed as before. Three times this happened, until I was perfectly familiar with His appearance—face, form, and movements. He was of noble stature and of majestic mien … the very God that He was and is, yet as meek and lowly as a little child.

“All at once the circumstance seemed to change. … Instead of before, it was after the Crucifixion, and the Savior, with those three Apostles, now stood together in a group at my left. They were about to depart and ascend into heaven. I could endure it no longer. I ran from behind the tree, fell at His feet, clasped Him around the knees, and begged Him to take me with Him.

“I shall never forget the kind and gentle manner in which He stooped and raised me up and embraced me. It was so vivid, so real that I felt the very warmth of His bosom against which I rested. Then He said: ‘No, my son; these have finished their work, and they may go with me; but you must stay and finish yours.’ Still I clung to Him. Gazing up into His face—for He was taller than I—I besought Him most earnestly: ‘Well, promise me that I will come to You at the last.’ He smiled sweetly and tenderly and replied: ‘That will depend entirely upon yourself.’ I awoke with a sob in my throat, and it was morning.”

Elder Orson F. Whitney

“The Divinity of Jesus Christ,” Improvement Era, Jan. 1926, 224–25

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Hope is the anchor of our souls. I know of no one who is not in need of hope—young or old, strong or weak, rich or poor. As the prophet Ether exhorted, “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)

. . . .

The unfailing source of our hope is that we are sons and daughters of God and that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, saved us from death.

. . . .

Our greatest hope comes from the knowledge that the Savior broke the bands of death. His victory came through His excruciating pain, suffering, and agony. He atoned for our sins if we repent. In the Garden of Gethsemane came the anguished cry, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) Luke described the intensity of the agony: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)

President James E. Faust
Hope, an Anchor of the Soul,” Ensign, Nov 1999, 59

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April 20, 2017

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, Repentance, Sin, Taylor

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Jesus had to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself…. And as he in his own person bore the sins of all, and atoned for them by the sacrifice of himself, so there came upon him the weight and agony of ages and generations, the indescribable agony consequent upon this great sacrificial atonement wherein he bore the sins of the world, and suffered in his own person the consequences of an eternal law of God broken by man. Hence his profound grief, his indescribable anguish, his overpowering torture, all experienced in the submission to the eternal fiat of Jehovah and the requirements of an inexorable law.

The suffering of the Son of God was not simply the suffering of personal death; for in assuming the position that he did in making an atonement for the sins of the world he bore the weight, the responsibility, and the burden of the sins of all men, which, to us, is incomprehensible.

Groaning beneath this concentrated load, this intense, incomprehensible pressure, this terrible exaction of Divine Justice, from which feeble humanity shrank, and through the agony thus experienced sweating great drops of blood, He was led to exclaim, ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ He had wrestled with the superincumbent load in the wilderness, He had struggled against the powers of darkness that had been let loose upon him there; placed below all things, His mind surcharged with agony and pain, lonely and apparently helpless and forsaken, in his agony the blood oozed from His pores.

 

President John Taylor
The Mediation and Atonement, Page 149-150

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February 1, 2017

Eyring, Faith, General Conference, Gethsemane, Humility, King Benjamin

Comments Off on What we do allows the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change us into what we must be

Repost of a classic from President Eyring

King Benjamin, who understood as well as any mortal what it meant to be a man of strength and courage, makes it clear that to be like a child is not to be childish. It is to be like the Savior, who prayed to His Father for strength to be able to do His will and then did it. Our natures must be changed to become as a child to gain the strength we must have to be safe in the times of moral peril.

Here is King Benjamin’s stirring description of what that change to become like a child is and how it comes to us:

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

We are safe on the rock which is the Savior when we have yielded in faith in Him, have responded to the Holy Spirit’s direction to keep the commandments long enough and faithfully enough that the power of the Atonement has changed our hearts. When we have, by that experience, become as a child in our capacity to love and obey, we are on the sure foundation.

From King Benjamin we learn what we can do to take us to that safe place. But remember: the things we do are the means, not the end we seek. What we do allows the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change us into what we must be. Our faith in Jesus Christ brings us to repentance and to keeping His commandments. We obey and we resist temptation by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. In time our natures will change. We will become as a little child, obedient to God and more loving. That change, if we do all we must to keep it, will qualify us to enjoy the gifts which come through the Holy Ghost. Then we will be safe on the only sure rock.

President Henry B. Eyring

As a Child,” Ensign, May 2006, 14–17

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August 17, 2016

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, McConkie

Comments Off on The Atonement of Christ is the Most Basic and Fundamental Doctrine of the Gospel

Now, the atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths.

Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life.

But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement.

We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth.

We must search the scriptures, accepting them as the mind and will and voice of the Lord and the very power of God unto salvation.

As we read, ponder, and pray, there will come into our minds a view of the three gardens of God—the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Purifying Power of Gethsemane“, Ensign, May 1985, 9

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March 7, 2016

General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, Joseph Smith, McConkie

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Once or twice in a thousand years—perhaps a dozen times since mortal man became of dust a living soul—an event of such transcendent import occurs that neither heaven nor earth are ever thereafter the same.

Once or twice in a score of generations the hand from heaven clasps the hand on earth in perfect fellowship, the divine drama unfolds, and the whole course of mortal events changes.

Now and then in a quiet garden, or amid the fires and thunders of Sinai, or inside a sepulchre that cannot be sealed, or in an upper room—almost always apart from the gaze of men and seldom known by more than a handful of people—the Lord intervenes in the affairs of men and manifests his will relative to their salvation.

One such event took place six millennia ago in a garden which was planted eastward in Eden when the man Adam and the woman Eve fell that men might be. Another such event altered the course of history when an aged prophet believed God and built an ark wherein he and seven others, out of all the inhabitants of the earth, were saved from a watery grave.

The most transcendent of all such events occurred in a garden called Gethsemane, outside Jerusalem’s walls, when the Chief Citizen of planet earth sweat great drops of blood from every pore as he in agony took upon himself the sins of all men on conditions of repentance. Yet another of these events, destined to affect the life and being of every living soul, happened in the Arimathean’s tomb when the sinless spirit of the one perfect man returned from the paradise of God to inhabit again—this time in glorious immortality—the pierced and slain body that once was his.

. . . .

Once or twice in a thousand years a new door is opened through which all men must enter if they are to gain peace in this life and be inheritors of eternal life in the realms ahead.

Once or twice in a score of generations a new era dawns: the light from the east begins to drive the darkness of the earth from the hearts of men.

Now and then in a peaceful grove, apart from the gaze of men, heaven and earth share a moment of intimacy, and neither are ever thereafter the same. Such a moment occurred on that beautiful, clear morning in the spring of 1820 in a grove of trees near Palmyra, New York.

Man asked and God answered.

Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son.

.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Once or Twice in a Thousand Years, General Conference, October, 1975

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February 14, 2016

Adversity, General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, Humility, Maxwell

Comments Off on Real Petition Followed by Real Submission

Continuing with Elder Maxwell from yesterday’s post:

By sharing as best we can in the sufferings and sicknesses of others, we too can develop our empathy – that everlasting and vital virtue. We can also further develop our submissiveness to God’s will, so that amid our lesser but genuinely vexing moments we too can say, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). When heartfelt, this expression of obedience constitutes real petition followed by real submission. It is much more than polite deference. Rather, it is a deep yielding in which one’s momentary uncertainty gives way to the certainty of Father’s rescuing love and mercy, attributes which drench His plan of salvation.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
““Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ””, Ensign, Nov. 1997, 22

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November 2, 2015

General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, Joseph Fieldin Smith

Comments Off on We Speak of the Passion of Jesus Christ

We speak of the passion of Jesus Christ. A great many people have an idea that when he was on the cross, and nails were driven into his hands and feet, that was his great suffering. His great suffering was before he ever was placed upon the cross. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that the blood oozed from the pores of his body: “which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit — and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink.” (D&C 19:18.)

That was not when he was on the cross; that was in the garden. That is where he bled from every pore in his body.

Now I cannot comprehend that pain. I have suffered pain, you have suffered pain, and sometimes it has been quite severe; but I cannot comprehend pain, which is mental anguish more than physical, that would cause the blood, like sweat, to come out upon the body. It was something terrible, something terrific; so we can understand why he would cry unto his Father: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

 

President Joseph Fielding Smith
Doctrines of Salvation Vol I, Salt Lake City: Dereret Book Co. p. 130.

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November 2, 2015

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, Packer

Comments Off on He, by Choice, Accepted the Penalty for All Mankind

Before the Crucifixion and afterward, many men have willingly given their lives in selfless acts of heroism. But none faced what the Christ endured. Upon Him was the burden of all human transgression, all human guilt.

And hanging in the balance was the Atonement. Through His willing act, mercy and justice could be reconciled, eternal law sustained, and that mediation achieved without which mortal man could not be redeemed.

He, by choice, accepted the penalty for all mankind for the sum total of all wickedness and depravity; for brutality, immorality, perversion, and corruption; for addiction; for the killings and torture and terror—for all of it that ever had been or all that ever would be enacted upon this earth.

In choosing, He faced the awesome power of the evil one who was not confined to flesh nor subject to mortal pain. That was Gethsemane!

How the Atonement was wrought, we do not know. No mortal watched as evil turned away and hid in shame before the light of that pure being.

All wickedness could not quench that light. When what was done was done, the ransom had been paid. Both death and hell forsook their claim on all who would repent. Men at last were free. Then every soul who ever lived could choose to touch that light and be redeemed.

By this infinite sacrifice, through this atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

President Boyd K. Packer
Atonement, Agency, Accountability, General Conference, April, 1988

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