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

Exaltation will not be rare among faithful Latter-Day Saints.  The following is taken from Within Reach by Robert C. Millett (1995, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City).  For those who never experienced Elder Bruce R. McConkie, he was regarded by many, including his fellow Apostles, as a pre-eminent authority on Gospel Doctrine.  He was not one to minimize sin or gloss over shortcomings and was very capable at calling the errant to repentance, but he was profoundly optimistic about the ability of Christ’s Atonement to exalt His humble followers.

In the fall of 1976 I gathered with about four or five hundred other teachers from the Church Educational System for an evening with Elder Bruce R. McConkie. We met in a chapel at the institute of religion adjacent to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Because of our admiration and respect for his gospel scholarship, as well as the meaningful occasions we had enjoyed with him before, we came to the meeting prepared to be filled. We were not disappointed. He spoke for about half an hour on the implications of the recent reorganization of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He spoke of priesthood, keys, and succession. At that point, without warning, he invited questions from the group. Some of the questions related to our seminary course of study for the year, while others were about doctrinal matters in general. One question and the answer that followed changed my life; they affected the way I thereafter understood God, the plan of salvation, and how the gospel should be taught.

A young seminary teacher in the back of the chapel asked, in essence, “Elder McConkie, as you know, we are studying the New Testament in seminary this year. How do we keep our students from being discouraged (and how do we avoid discouragement ourselves) when we read in the scriptures that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it?” I will never forget the way the answer came. Elder McConkie stood there at the pulpit and said, “You tell your students that far more of our Father’s children will be exalted than we think!”

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May 17, 2017

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, McConkie, Testimony

Comments Off on Do I believe in the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Do I believe in the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ?

As to this question, I give my own personal answer. It is:

I know that my Redeemer lives; with Job I testify. “What though the ravages of disease destroy my body; what though I am slain by the sword of death—yet I know that he who bought me with his blood shall soon reign on earth and that “in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19:26; see also Job 19:25.)

I am a witness that he was lifted up upon the cross of Calvary; that he was crucified, died, and rose again the third day; that he ascended into heaven, where, sitting on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, he now reigns in everlasting glory; and that he will soon come again among the sons of men.

I know that he is the one Mediator between God and man; that he brings to pass the immortality and eternal life of man; that his is a ministry of reconciliation whereby fallen man can be reconciled with his Maker.

I know that salvation is in Christ and that only by faith in his name can we hope for the riches of eternity.

He is my Brother and Friend, but he is more. He is my Lord, my God, and my King, whom I worship in the full majesty of his Godhead and who will continue to be my Savior, my Redeemer, and my God through all the eternities that lie ahead.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Caravan Moves On“, Ensign, Nov. 1984, 82

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April 15, 2017

Christmas, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, McConkie

Comments Off on The Doctrine of Divine Sonship

Of all the people in Christendom, we Latter-day Saints are the only ones in a position to reap the full blessings of the spirit of Christ in our lives, to know what actually is involved in his ministry, to partake in full measure of that spirit which goes with this season of the year. We have everything that the world has; we have the historical accounts of his coming onto the earth; we are aware of the traditions that have been woven around his birth, many of which have little substance in reality and fact. But the thing with which we are particularly blessed is the knowledge, gained by latter-day revelation, of his Divine Sonship. We know the doctrine of the Divine Sonship of our Lord, and it is this doctrine which I shall consider with you.

. . . .

When we think of him, we think of the most noble and exalted being there is. Then we read this question, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” and discover that somehow it is associated with his love for us, his children, his spirit children who are now dwelling as mortals here on earth. We discover in our text that he shall be the Father of a Son born “after the manner of the flesh”; that is, he condescends, in his infinite wisdom, to be the Father of a holy being who shall be born into mortality. He determines to fulfill what he decreed and announced in the plan of salvation in the premortal life when, having explained the plan, he asked for a redeemer and a savior and said, “Whom shall I send to be my Son?” Thus the condescension of God is that he is the Father literally of a Son born in mortality, in the language here, a Son born “after the manner of the flesh.”

. . . .

Now we have a second matter relative to Deity’s condescension. This time it is the fact that Christ elected, chose, and volunteered to come into the world and be born as God’s Son, undergo the mortal probation and ministry assigned him, and then climax it with the working out of the infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice.

So when we think of Christ’s condescension in this matter, we must think of the glory and dominion and exaltation that he possessed. We read in the revelations that he was “like unto God” (Abr. 3:24). We read the language of the Father where he says, “worlds without number have I created; … and by the Son I created them, which is mine only Begotten” (see Moses 1:33). We discover that Christ was like the Father; that he was co-creator, that he had the might and power and dominion and omnipotence of the Father and that he acted under his direction in the regulating and the creating of the universe.

. . . .

Now the greatest and most important single thing there is in all eternity—the thing that transcends all others since the time of the creation of man and of the worlds—is the fact of the atoning sacrifice of Christ the Lord. He came into the world to live and to die—to live the perfect life and be the pattern, the similitude, the prototype for all men, and to crown his ministry in death, in the working out of the infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice. And by virtue of this atonement, all things pertaining to life and immortality, to existence, to glory and salvation, to honor and rewards hereafter, all things are given full force and efficacy and virtue. The Atonement is the central thing in the whole gospel system. The Prophet said that all other things pertaining to our religion are only appendages to it.

. . . .

And so here we have a doctrine of the Divine Sonship. We have one man out of all eternity—one man among the infinite hosts of the spirit children of God our Father—who is born into the world, inheriting from an immortal exalted Father the power of immortality and inheriting, on the other hand, from a mortal woman—the best and most gracious and most noble mortal woman without question—inheriting from her the power of mortality. Now the power of immortality is the power to live. It is the power to elect to continue to live. The power of mortality is the power to die. And so here is one being who had a dual nature, who could elect to live or elect to die; and having made the election in accordance with the plan of the Father, having elected to separate body and spirit, then by the power of the Father, which is the power of immortality, he could elect to live again. As a consequence we have the redemption from death, the ransom from the grave; we have immortality for him and for us and for all men.

Now we cannot comprehend, we do not understand, we do not know nor can we in our present state, how the effects of this infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice passed upon all men. We cannot comprehend and understand how creation works, where God came from, or how we came into being. Someday these things will be within the comprehension and understanding of those who gain exaltation. But the fact that we cannot comprehend them does not lessen the fact that we have been created, that we do exist, that there is a resurrection, that in due course all men will be raised in immortality, and that those who have believed and obeyed the gospel law will be raised in addition unto eternal life in our Father’s kingdom. And all of this is possible because of the divine Sonship of Christ the Lord, because he inherited in his birth—in that day when he was born after the manner of the flesh—he inherited the power of immortality from God his Father.

. . . .

Now it is our custom and our practice to read in Luke and in Matthew the accounts that attended Christ’s coming to earth. These are historical events. Woven into them is some expression of the doctrine that is involved; but the historical events are of lesser import. It is the doctrine that is of transcendent value and worth to us; out of it comes the great blessings that I have indicated. How glorious it is that Christ was born into the world as the Son of God.

I indicated that we, as Latter-day Saints, are the only people who have the full understanding and knowledge of the doctrine of the Divine Sonship. We alone have the sure knowledge of God’s personal, yet exalted nature. We worship him as an exalted and holy being of tabernacle who had power to beget a Son and who also is the Creator and upholder of all things. And our knowledge comes through latter-day revelation. We have received from God in our day the knowledge that saves. The heavens have been opened and God has spoken again to us. Although we have everything that the world has relative to Christ’s birth and his ministry, and we are grateful beyond measure for it, in reality the blessings that have come to us in this respect have come by latter-day revelation, which revelations have clarified and expanded the ancient accounts and enabled us to have a clear perspective of what is involved.

. . . .

So I say, we have an obligation to testify of Christ, to have in our hearts at this season and at all times the spirit that goes with him and his work. I for one desire that spirit and in some measure have it, and as a consequence I bear witness to you, as we approach the Christmas season, that God has, in fact, restored his everlasting gospel, that the truths of heaven and the truths of salvation are here, that there are legal administrators on earth at this hour who have the power to bind on earth and have it sealed eternally in the heavens. The work of God is here. The plan of salvation has, in fact, been revealed. We know the doctrine of the Divine Sonship. We have the obligation accordingly, because of the light and knowledge that has been poured out upon us, to walk as becometh saints, to rise above the world, to overcome the world, to be living witnesses of the truth and the divinity of the work. Just as surely as we are, we shall reap for ourselves peace and joy and happiness in this life. We shall have the true spirit of Christmas at this season and at all seasons, and then in due course we shall go on to the fulness of the kingdom of our Father hereafter.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Behold the Condescension of God,” New Era, Dec 1984, 35

Taken from a devotional address delivered to the students at Brigham Young University on December 16, 1969.

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March 6, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Grace, McConkie

Comments Off on The Most Transcendent Event That Ever Has or Ever Will Occur

I feel, and the Spirit seems to accord, that the most important doctrine I can declare, and the most powerful testimony I can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

His atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity.

It is the supreme act of goodness and grace that only a god could perform. Through it, all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s eternal plan of salvation became operative.

Through it are brought to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Through it, all men are saved from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment.

And through it, all who believe and obey the glorious gospel of God, all who are true and faithful and overcome the world, all who suffer for Christ and his word, all who are chastened and scourged in the Cause of him whose we are—all shall become as their Maker and sit with him on his throne and reign with him forever in everlasting glory.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985, 9

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October 18, 2016

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, McConkie

Comments Off on McConkie – Three Pillars of Eternity

The three pillars of eternity, the three events, preeminent and transcendent above all others, are the creation, the fall, and the atonement. These three are the foundations upon which all things rest. Without any one of them all things would lose their purpose and meaning, and the plans and designs of Deity would come to naught.

If there had been no creation, we would not be, neither the earth, nor any form of life upon its face. All things, all the primal elements, would be without form and void. God would have no spirit children; there would be no mortal probation; and none of us would be on the way to immortality and eternal life.

If there had been no fall of man, there would not be a mortal probation. Mortal man would not be, nor would there be animals or fowls or fishes or life of any sort upon the earth. And, we repeat, none of us would be on the way to immortality and eternal life.

If there had been no atonement of Christ, all things would be lost. The purposes of creation would vanish away. Lucifer would triumph over men and become the captain of their souls. And, we say it again, none of us would be on the way to immortality and eternal life.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

The Three Pillars of Eternity, devotional address at Brigham Young University on 17 February 1981.

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October 17, 2016

Holy Ghost, McConkie, Millett, Sanctification

Comments Off on To be sanctified is not only to be free from sin but also to be free from the effects of sin

The Holy Ghost is a sanctifier….

One who lives worthy of the guidance and cleansing influence of the Spirit will, in process of time, become sanctified.  Sanctification is the process whereby one comes to hate the worldliness he once loved and love the holiness and righteousness he once hated.  

To be sanctified is not only to be free from sin but also to be free from the effects of sin, free from sinfulness itself, the very desire to sin.  One who is sanctified comes to look upon sin with abhorrence (cf .Mosiah 5:2; Alma 13:12; Alma 19:33).

McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 263
(paragraph breaks inserted to enhance online readability)

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September 25, 2016

General Authorities, McConkie

Comments Off on It is Time for Israel to Come Home

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.

Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Luke 17:34-37

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And so we see the eagles of Israel scattered by the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. We see them flying in the skies of all nations in search of spiritual food, waiting for a day when life-assuring morsels will come into view. They are free, independent thinkers, anxious to escape the darkness of the night and to soar into the dawn of a new day. The creeds of men do not feed their souls. They are not at rest in the lands of their scattering. They yearn for that which their fathers enjoyed in the days of their ancient glory.

Then the food that will feed their souls is made available. The gospel is restored; the Book of Mormon comes forth; the gifts and graces enjoyed by the ancients are again found on earth. It is time for Israel to come home. The eagles are invited to feast upon the good word of God. They seek the food that satisfies the soul. They descend from their lofty heights of worldliness and feast upon those things of which men may eat and never hunger more. The gospel gathers Israel, and where it is, there the eagles of Israel shall be found.

.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Millennial Messiah

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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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July 30, 2016

Eternal Life, Exaltation, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, McConkie, Plan of Salvation

Comments Off on No Uncertainty in Our Minds – The Full Assurance of Eternal Life

I shall speak of a subject which strikes dread—even terror—into the hearts of most men. It is something we fear, of which we are sorely afraid, and from which most of us would flee if we could.

I shall speak of the passing of the immortal soul into the eternal realms ahead, of that dread day when we shall shuffle off this mortal coil and go back to the dust from whence we came. I shall speak of death—mortal death, the natural death, the death of the body—and of the state of the souls of men when this final consummation is imposed upon them.
. . . .
If we are to place death in its proper perspective in the eternal scheme of things, we must first learn the purposes of life. We must know whence we came, Whose we are, and why He placed us here. Only then can we envision whither we shall yet go in the providences of Him who made us.

We know, because the Lord has revealed it in this our day, that we are the spirit children of an exalted, glorified Being, a Holy Man who has a body of flesh and bones and who is our Father in heaven.

We know that the name of the kind of life He lives is eternal life and that it consists of living in the family unit and of possessing all power, all might, and all dominion.

We know that He ordained and established the plan of salvation to enable us to advance and progress from our spirit state, to the same state of glory, honor, and exaltation which He Himself possesses.

We know that the Father’s plan called for the creation of this earth, where we could dwell as mortals, receive bodies made of the dust of the earth, and undergo the tests and trials which now face us.

We know that this plan of salvation included provisions for the fall of man, with its consequent temporal and spiritual death; for a redemption from death through the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God; and for an inheritance of eternal life for all the obedient.

We know that this great plan of progression called for a birth which would provide a mortal tabernacle for our eternal spirits, and for a death which would free those spirits from the frailties, diseases, and weaknesses of mortality.

And may I say that this life never was intended to be easy. It is a probationary estate in which we are tested physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually. We are subject to disease and decay. We are attacked by cancer, leprosy, and contagious diseases. We suffer pain and sorrow and afflictions. Disasters strike; floods sweep away our homes; famines destroy our food; plagues and wars fill our graves with dead bodies and our broken homes with sorrow.

We are called upon to choose between the revealed word of God and the soul-destroying postulates of the theoretical sciences. Temptations, the lusts of the flesh, evils of every sort all these are part of the plan, and must be faced by every person privileged to undergo the experiences of mortality.

. . . .
“Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,” Nephi said to members of the Church, “having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Ne. 31:20.) That is to say—all the faithful Saints, all of those who have endured to the end, depart this life with the absolute guarantee of eternal life.

There is no equivocation, no doubt, no uncertainty in our minds. Those who have been true and faithful in this life will not fall by the wayside in the life to come. If they keep their covenants here and now and depart this life firm and true in the testimony of our blessed Lord, they shall come forth with an inheritance of eternal life.

We do not mean to say that those who die in the Lord, and who are true and faithful in this life, must be perfect in all things when they go into the next sphere of existence. There was only one perfect man—the Lord Jesus whose Father was God.

There have been many righteous souls who have attained relative degrees of perfection, and there have been great hosts of faithful people who have kept the faith, and lived the law, and departed this life with the full assurance of an eventual inheritance of eternal life.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Dead Who Die in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 1976, 106

(emphasis added in bold)

For another statement on this subject by Elder McConkie, see this previous post.

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July 21, 2016

Fundamental Principles, McConkie, Resurrection, Salvation

Comments Off on If There Had Been No Atonement

If there had been no atonement of Christ, there would be no resurrection, no breaking of the bands of death, no coming forth from the grave.

If there had been no atonement, there would be no remission of sins; no return to the presence of God; no salvation of any sort, kind, or nature; no eternal life; no exaltation; no continuation of the family unit in eternity.

If there were no atonement of Christ, all men would be subject to “that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment” (2 Nephi 9:19).

If there were no atonement of Christ, “our spirits” would have become “like unto” Lucifer’s, “and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself” (2 Nephi 9:9).

If there were no atonement of Christ, all men would be damned everlastingly, all would be sons of perdition, and the whole purpose of God and his eternal plan of salvation would utterly fail.

All things center in, revolve around, are anchored to, and are built upon the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no language given to men or angels to proclaim these truths with the power and verity and dignity that should attend them. Let it be blazoned in burning fire through all the sidereal heavens that salvation is in Christ and comes because of his atoning sacrifice.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Three Pillars of Eternity, devotional address at Brigham Young University on 17 February 1981

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