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

November 19, 2017

General Authorities, Hinckley, Hope

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[Jesus Christ’s] Atonement is the greatest event in human history. There is nothing to compare with it. It is the most fundamental part of our Father’s plan for the happiness of His children. Without it, mortal life would be a dead-end existence with neither hope nor future. The gift of our divine Redeemer brings an entirely new dimension to our lives. Because of our Savior’s sacrifice, instead of dismal oblivion, death becomes only a passage to a more glorious realm. The Resurrection becomes a reality for all. Eternal life becomes available to those who walk in obedience to His commandments” (Australia stake conference satellite broadcast, Feb. 12, 2005).

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President Gordon B. Hinckley
Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, September, 2007, 4-8

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October 30, 2017

Adversity, General Authorities, General Conference, Holland, Hope

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Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 88–90

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September 12, 2017

Forgiveness, General Authorities, Holland, Hope, Kimball, Repentance

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I had made up my mind that I would never write a book … [but] when I come in contact almost daily with broken homes, delinquent children, corrupt governments, and apostate groups, and realize that all these problems are the result of sin, I want to shout with Alma: ‘O … that I might go forth … with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people.’ (Alma 29:1)

Hence this book indicates the seriousness of breaking God’s commandments; shows that sin can bring only sorrow, remorse, disappointment, and anguish; and warns that the small indiscretions evolve into larger ones and finally into major transgressions which bring heavy penalties.

[But] having come to recognize their deep sin, many have tended to surrender hope, not having a clear knowledge of the scriptures and of the redeeming power of Christ.

[So I also] write to make the joyous affirmation that man can be literally transformed by his own repentance and by God’s gift of forgiveness.

It is my humble hope that … [those] who are suffering the baleful effects of sin may be helped to find the way from darkness to light, from suffering to peace, from misery to hope, and from spiritual death to eternal life.

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President Spencer W. Kimball
The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, pp. x–xii; emphasis added.

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Quoted in A Robe, a Ring, and a Fatted Calf by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, August, 1985

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August 14, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Hope, Maxwell

Comments Off on Souls can be Roused and Rallied by Hope’s Reveille as by No Other Music

Souls can be roused and rallied by hope’s “reveille” as by no other music. Even if comrades slumber or desert, “lively hope” performs like a reconnoitering scout out in advance of God’s columns; “there is hope smiling brightly before us” (see 1 Pet. 1:3; Hymns, 1985, no. 19). Hope caused disciples to go quickly and expectantly to an empty garden tomb (see Mark 16:1–8; Luke 24:8–12). Hope helped a prophet to see rescuing rain in a distant cloud which appeared to be no larger than a man’s hand (see 1 Kgs. 18:41–46).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“‘Brightness of Hope’,” Ensign, Nov 1994, 34

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August 12, 2017

General Authorities, Hinckley, Hope

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[Jesus Christ’s] Atonement is the greatest event in human history. There is nothing to compare with it. It is the most fundamental part of our Father’s plan for the happiness of His children. Without it, mortal life would be a dead-end existence with neither hope nor future. The gift of our divine Redeemer brings an entirely new dimension to our lives. Because of our Savior’s sacrifice, instead of dismal oblivion, death becomes only a passage to a more glorious realm. The Resurrection becomes a reality for all. Eternal life becomes available to those who walk in obedience to His commandments” (Australia stake conference satellite broadcast, Feb. 12, 2005).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, September, 2007, 4-8

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August 7, 2017

Hope, Hunter

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It is important to remember that Jesus was capable of sinning, that he could have succumbed, that the plan of life and salvation could have been foiled, but that he remained true. Had there been no possibility of his yielding to the enticement of Satan, there would have been no real test, no genuine victory in the result. If he had been stripped of the faculty to sin, he would have been stripped of his very agency. It was he who had come to safeguard and ensure the agency of man. He had to retain the capacity and ability to sin had he willed so to do. As Paul wrote, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8); and he “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He was perfect and sinless, not because he had to be, but rather because he clearly and determinedly wanted to be. As the Doctrine and Covenants records, “He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22).

President Howard W. Hunter

The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams, 76-02, p. 19

Modernists dispute that the Master voluntarily offered himself to atone for the sins of mankind, and they deny that there was in fact such an atonement. It is our firm belief that it is a reality, and nothing is more important in the entire divine plan of salvation than the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We believe that salvation comes because of the Atonement. In its absence the whole plan of creation would come to naught.

Without this atoning sacrifice, temporal death would be the end, and there would be no resurrection and no purpose in our spiritual lives. There would be no hope of eternal life.

President Howard W. Hunter

The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams, 68-05, p. 106

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July 12, 2017

General Authorities, Hope, Maxwell

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Life’s disappointments often represent the debris of our failed, proximate hopes. Instead, however, I speak of the crucial need for ultimate hope.

Ultimate hope is a different matter. It is tied to Jesus and the blessings of the great Atonement, blessings resulting in the universal Resurrection and the precious opportunity provided thereby for us to practice emancipating repentance, making possible what the scriptures call “a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Nephi 31:20).

Moroni confirmed: “What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moroni 7:40–41; see also Alma 27:28). Real hope, therefore, is not associated with things mercurial, but rather with things immortal and eternal!

Unsurprisingly, hope is intertwined with other gospel doctrines, especially faith and patience.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Ensign, Nov 1998, 61

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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 18, 2017

Banish Fear, Dew, Hope, Tests

Comments Off on He Loveth Those Who Will Have Him to be Their God

But how do we get a clear vision of who we are? Light is a key to vision! And Jesus Christ is the ultimate Light, the “light which shineth in darkness” (D&C 6:21), the light which chases “darkness from among [us]” (D&C 50:25). Faith in Jesus Christ is the key to vision, to seeing ourselves as the Lord sees us. So to improve our vision, we must increase our faith in and connection to the Savior.

It is no accident that faith in Jesus Christ—not only believing in Him but believing Him—is the first principle of the gospel. President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “Of all our needs, I think the greatest is an increase in faith” (“ ‘Lord, Increase Our Faith,’ ” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 54.)

We sometimes tend to define unbelievers as apostates or agnostics. But perhaps that definition is far too narrow. What about those of us who have received a witness of the divinity of the Savior and yet deep in our hearts don’t believe He will help us? We believe He’ll help others—President Hinckley, the Quorum of the Twelve, the stake Relief Society president—but not us.

Have you ever carefully selected a gift for someone only to present the gift and have it fall flat? Perhaps a simple “Thanks” feels nonchalant and even ungrateful. Similarly, it must be disappointing to the Lord, who offered the ultimate sacrifice, when we by our unbelief essentially refuse His gift and therefore His offer of help.

An unwillingness to believe that the Savior stands ready to deliver us from our difficulties is tantamount to refusing the gift. It is tragic when we refuse to turn to Him who paid the ultimate price and to let Him lift us up. Life is a test. But divine assistance is available to help us successfully complete this most critical examination.

More than once Nephi chastened his older brothers for their unbelief: “How is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him?” (1 Ne. 7:12). How indeed? It is a question we might ask ourselves. The Lord can do all things. But it is our faith in Him, even our willingness to believe, that activates the power of the Atonement in our lives. “We are made alive in Christ because of our faith” (2 Ne. 25:25). I love Nephi’s words when he tells his brothers, speaking of the Lord, “And he loveth those who will have him to be their God” (1 Ne. 17:40)—or in other words, those who accept Him and His gift.

One would think it would be easy to embrace and have faith in the gift of the Atonement. But I fear that some people know just enough about the gospel to feel guilty that they are not measuring up to some undefinable standard but not enough about the Atonement to feel the peace and strength it affords us. Perhaps some of us don’t know how to draw the power of the Atonement into our lives; others aren’t willing to seek its blessings. And some don’t ask because they don’t feel worthy. It is quite the irony—that the gospel of Jesus Christ, which contains the power to save every human being and to strengthen every soul, is sometimes interpreted in such a way that feelings of inadequacy result.

. . . .

In my early 30s I faced a personal disappointment that broke my heart. From a point of view distorted by emotional pain, I couldn’t believe that anything or anyone could take away the loneliness or that I would ever feel whole or happy again. In an effort to find peace, comfort, and strength, I turned to the Lord in a way I had not before. The scriptures became a lifeline, filled as they were with promises I had never noticed in quite the same way—that He would heal my broken heart and take away my pain, that He would succor me and deliver me from disappointment.

Fasting and prayer took on new intensity, and the temple became a place of refuge and revelation. What I learned was not only that the Lord could help me but that He would. Me. A regular, farm-grown member of the Church with no fancy titles or spectacular callings. It was during that agonizing period that I began to discover how magnificent, penetrating, and personal the power of the Atonement is.

I pleaded with God to change my circumstances, because I believed I could never be happy until He did. Instead, He changed my heart. I asked Him to take away my burden, but He strengthened me so I could bear my burdens with ease (see Mosiah 24:15). I had always been a believer, but I’m not sure I had understood what, or who, it was I believed in.

President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901), a counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “When we went forth into the waters of baptism and covenanted with our Father in heaven to serve Him and keep His commandments, He bound Himself also by covenant to us that He would never desert us, never leave us to ourselves, never forget us, that in the midst of trials and hardships, when everything was arrayed against us, He would be near unto us and would sustain us. That was His covenant” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1974], 1:170).

And it all begins with the willingness to believe. “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them” (Ether 12:12).

Do you believe that the Savior will really do for you what He has said He will do? That He can ease the sting of loneliness and enable you to deal with that haunting sense of inadequacy? That He will help you forgive? That He can fill you with optimism and hope? That He will help you resist your greatest temptation and tame your most annoying weakness? That He will respond to your deepest longing? That He is the only source of comfort, strength, direction, and peace that will not change, will not betray you, and will never let you down?

Sheri L. Dew

This Is a Test. It Is Only a Test,” Ensign, Jul 2000, 62.  From a talk given on 1 May 1998 at BYU Women’s Conference.

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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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